Word and Image

Animal

Black dog

The saying goes: black cat in a room at midnight. Shooting (photographically) a black dog is near impossible – for me. Reggie defied many attempts to get a proper picture over the many years he lived. He was a sweet dog. And, I miss him. And, I don’t (miss him) because he was impossible to photograph. He would often appear as a black shapeless blob in my photos. And then once in a while – well, he was a sweet dog. Nuts! He loved to chase 18 wheel tractor trailer trucks. But sweet! Have I said that? Yeah, I loved that dog. A lot. Really!


never did I ever…

Africa. I had dreamed of seeing the animals. A few weeks. Impossible! You simply can’t see everything. I was so fortunate to see so much. We were not there long, certainly not long enough. I’ve seen too many Tarzan movies. I did not want to be anyone’s lunch nor any lion’s supper. There were many great moments. One of them was coming upon a leopard having a meal. Not so good for the meal, it was a great photo op for me. It was a moment hard to predict and hard to come by. Expectation… exceeded!


the horses

I got these shots on the way back. From where? It doesn’t matter, except, I made you wonder. Ha! A field of yellow flowers, a pair of horses feeding, and it’s nearly an automatic photo op. So? How come we didn’t stop on the way to rather than the way back?


Samarium

Sm, element 62 in the periodic table of elements. Rock, I’ve been under one. I was a chemistry major. I’ve been looking at the periodic table since I was in 9th grade. What? Huh? Where have I been? I just saw it and realize I have no recollection of this element. Use it in a chemical equation. Ha ha! It exists in nature. It is not one of the transitory elements they discovered in the nuclear lab. It sounds like it has Middle East connections. Beware! Meanwhile, you can laugh. In all of this time Pluto was a planet, then not, and now once again is. The statement, “I’m not a camel.” begs the question, “Then why are you telling me this?”


Afterthought

Nineteen years. Time fades memory. I nearly forgot. I didn’t. But the raw sense of profound loss has been tempered. Last year we were in Scotland to fulfill a long dream of Colleen’s. We passed this cow on the road looking over the hedge at us. I stopped. Cute! Not a Heilan coo. Maybe? He needed bangs. So, a cow, a cute one at that, and he let me take his picture while he curiously gazed. Yes, nineteen years, a couple generations have passed. Has memory faded so much? I remember. I was there. I know someone who was lost. For many it’s not so personal. Not me.


Remember when…

…we could travel freely? Right about now we are more than half through our second trip to Scotland. Not! Bad timing! Ode to corona: who thought a trip to our mailbox would be a threat to our health. Confused? No. Alas, we are not in Scotland. We were told the sheep were dipped – yellow – for purposes of health. We never saw another flock like it. Reasons on the ‘net include: ID, ownership, ewes, theft discouragement and who knows? We frequently staged some gag photos for the kids. Yeah, shameless Photoshop. Why not? Poor Colleen. Why hug a post box? Hey! You would have to look in my brain. Me? Some days I’m locked out. Thistle: the national flower of Scotland. And right now I wish we were posting: “Wish you were here.”


Rock

…as in under a rock. Or, how about, the moon is made of green cheese? Or, there are no aliens? Or, it is an alien in the great White house? You pick. I will admit I stage some of my images. It’s up to you to figure it out. I will readily admit it’s not easy to get a shot of the moon.


Would you?

…take your dog…. Wow! She did it! She had the dog with her at a black-tie concert. She must know….?? The dog got a lot of attention. It (dog) didn’t seem to mind – attention or the surroundings – no noise. I kept waiting for it (the dog) to pee on her. In the second half the woman did leap out of her seat? … to walk the dog? But, alas, no, the husband and dog remained seated and she did not return till the end? A mystery it seems, that shall remain unresolved.


Squirrel

I like their persistence. Mr. Squirrel has not figured out how to defeat the bird feeder yet. (The cage drops down over the feeder holes.) And, the cats would dearly love to play. In this case everyone goes away without what they want. I’m not ready to feed the squirrel and the cats won’t get a squirrel either. The little birdies win, I think.

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Squirrel

I got squirrels. Look on YouTube. There are hilarious videos of ways to combat squirrels at the feeder. The poor birds? Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too! …unless your wife thinks squirrels are furry rats. You can see two feeders. The first was like a buffet. The squirrels were putting on weight! The second, a cheap plastic, device was so flimsy it was destroyed in a day. The squirrels destroyed it in a day! Destroyed! In a day! So, I broke down. …. Birds gotta eat. The new feeder has stopped the squirrels. So, there’s no pic. Ha ha. No squirrels. There’s/that’s not a pic.


Fox

Habitat. I guess we should feel guilty to see fox in the suburban neighborhoods. I don’t. I feel fortunate that I was there when this guy popped out of the brush and waited till I got my camera out. It’s fall. The fox is thin. Slim pickings? Disease? Sighting? Call me lucky to have seen it.


Triple play

Ok! The camera is set up to number sequence your images. Each time it hits 9999 it recycles to 0. Got it? From 2018 to 2019 about a year and a half, I got back to the same number three times. Where was I? We were leaving on a trip. Ray and Nutley forlornly watched as we left. Ian, we were in Denver. Happy day! Geese. Somewhere. Random. Image 1 to image 20,000. It was quite a journey and counting still.


Tourist

It’s hard to make a highland cow photogenic in the rain and mud. Some places arrange to have cows available for a photo-op. It’s a sure way to get tourists to stop. Then again, the photo-op is about what you expect. And the cows are not particularly cute in the mud. I guess it was enough to have a pic. If this was all, I would be disappointed. Under the circumstances none of these images were worthy. It’s all good. I had many others and got images elsewhere.


Whoa!

This was worth a stop! We were speeding along to somewhere, when I spied this field of colorful sheep. Why?? I saw a similarly colored group once more during our trip. Otherwise it is/was a mystery. Disease prevention? Dyed in the wool? (sorry for the bad joke) What? We don’t know. It was definitely worth it to get the photos. I did not realize or know that I would not see this again. Whoa!


Froggy

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I see them. Not often. So, I photograph them when I see them. Logical. Detail, remember the rule of thirds, and so forth…. I look and try to make it mine. Sure, the subject is not new. It’s still a frog. But, I hope I made you look.


Heilan coo

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Scottish. Highland cow. It was a quest. We saw pictures, stuffed animals, post cards, tea towels… all with the cute images. The cows are not fierce. And because they are relatively friendly, the cuteness factor is not overrated. It’s not so easy to find them. It’s easy. You run into them if you are patient. Some tourist sites know enough and they pen a few within reach of tourist’s cameras. It always draws a crowd. The trick then is to get a portrait worthy of “cuteness.” Who thinks bangs on a cow is cute? Me!


Tick

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I saw the motion of a leaping frog as I watered the plants. I dutifully retrieved my camera and got some shots. Another? More frog pictures? I have pictures of a green frog… as recently as a few weeks ago. It’s like all the fish I saw in the Red Sea. You take the picture. It might even be the same frog (fish). It has happened. Honest. I post processed and saw the brown spot on the frog’s head. A tick! How about that? No spot. Tick! Darn! Do you remove it? I never did know. The frog was long gone before I ever had a choice to help/interfere with nature. No tick for me. I hope the frog’s ok.


Eye to eye

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Just sitting at the light, we were right up parallel with this dog. We stared at each other. Passing ships. He was striking enough to make me pause and then grab my camera.


Little green frog

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Yes, a frog climbed to the second story deck too. Why? To get to the top. Maybe he was promoting himself? Ok, bad joke. Another picture. I have a similar one from last year. Why not more frogs then? He has since moved on. I hope he got what he wanted.


Forked tongue

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Ok! I have a container garden. It’s elevated on a second floor deck. Snakes don’t fly. How’d he get up here? Motivated! And Colleen saw him. And, she hates snakes! Really hates them! I persuaded him to leave the deck. (See: Pushed him over the edge. I do that to people sometimes too.) In the garden bed below he was crawling away, none the worse for wear, when he was kind enough to stick out his tongue. Glad he made it. How far can a snake fall without injury?


Makin’ bacon

Ha ha. I was hauling mulch from front to back. There, in the side yard under the trees were a pair of turtles. This was unusual to see. I see ones but ordinarily not a pair. Yes, they were caught in the act. Once they saw me the male moved off rather quickly, especially for a turtle. Yup, they can move if motivated. This leads me to question, in the whole wide world, how does one turtle find another?


Foxes

Ida had foxes give birth in her barn. They would come out around 7PM. And we were fortunate enough to see them the night we visited. The light was poor. But I got foxes. Neat! There were a bunch of them. More than one mom? They were brave. One just stood his ground and let me get a closeup.


Loser is lunch

I actually had to pull these images off my iPhone. Per usual, I shoot an image with my camera. But I forgot…

Have I mentioned the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival? It’s huge. Folks from far and wide come. Who knew? It’s like a cult. There are a lot of people who love sheep and wool. And they spin and weave and knit and…. I’m a bystander through association. I have a big camera and it seems not too many (big cameras) are in attendance. Sheep are photogenic? There is a building devoted to photography and there are prizes for your best sheep portrait. I’ll pass. But here we are. And I suddenly needed something to send to the kids. If you know my sense of humor… the sheep contest. The judge waxed poetic about fleece, bone structure, roundness, squareness and so many other attributes. Sorry. To me, a sheep is a sheep and they all look the same. Heresy!! Shoot me at dawn. All around me they sell sheep – meat – lamb and mutton. Gyros! You can’t have a proper one without lamb. The folks selling did not look Greek. I didn’t buy any. But I can’t help wondering what happens to the losers? My kids thought the joke was horrible. They have their mother’s sensibility in them.


Froggy

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Sometimes, despite all the repeats, I fail to get the shot I want. Focus, composition, exposure, whatever, it’s not quite right. This little frog just jumped in front of my camera. My camera would not focus or the depth of field was too shallow. And so on and so forth…. I was planting the flower containers and the little guy just jumped out of somewhere. I caught the movement and got my camera. He waited. He never opened his eyes fully. He was perfectly calm and unflustered. He moved away later when I wasn’t looking. No real shot to pick from. But he was there posing till… he decided to leave.

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Oh! I’m better than I thought. Somehow this second shot was not with my others. It’s better. Not great but better. It looks the same as the other but it was not cropped so severely.