Word and Image



Elle is the third cat Colleen brought from West Virginia. She was timid and would have nothing to do with me… for years. …a long time. I would pull out my camera. She would run. It was indeed gradual for us to develop trust.

Finally, she knows me. She answers to her name when I call. I feed her and love on her as much as she lets me. We are not buddies. But at least we have a nodding passing relationship in which we both get what we need.


Patch Willow, brothers. Colleen brought them from West Virginia. They did not ask and did not want to change venues. They adjusted. One day Patch went to the vet for a scheduled teeth cleaning. It went badly. Patch had a belly full of cancer. He died a short time after diagnosis. He did not suffer a lot. It is amazing how much he became part of me in only a short time. We still miss him. I am glad to be able to face loss and be able to talk about his memory.

Flowers or fish?

Would you rather…? I do not regret being in Saudi. Eh? I am glad to be home. I was homeless in a rhetorical sense for a bit. But I always seem to land on my feet. Flowers preoccupied me in the summer as never before. I got hundreds… thousands of pictures of the blossoms. Daily! Hundreds! Obsession? Compensation? Psycho? And, my/our cats. … because I could take good photographs in focus and well exposed with decent composition. Yes, all of the above. We all need an outlet? Eh? I’d rather be diving. But the price in Saudi was too steep. So, no! I am just fine here and now.

Random stroll

Did you know I have a catalog? Several. Hey hey! Ha ha!

These recent years have been dominated by cats and flowers. Travel has been restricted due to covid. It was only a short time since we got Tillie and Peas. The new macro lens made close-ups of the flowers in my garden… imagine if I had remained in Saudi. The blog would be flooded (pun) with underwater fish. Flowers or fish? Both start with an “F.”

I peeked

34k, 45k, 56k, 88k, 73k, 102k, 88k – 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

Yearly digital image count

So my catalogs are jumbled or the files are in places… I dare not think about. There is logic to the madness. Right!?

On average I got snapshots just like anyone else has. Some travel shots. Group shots. Cats! But 100k images in one year? 273 shots per day? Whew! Nuts! I guess I am a nut job. I gotta ask.. how many folks are smiling, how many are looking when I ask them to smile…?


Cat count. No, not 120 cats, just eight reside with us. It took 120 shots to get eight good ones to post today. I shoot multiples but mostly none of my cats pose on demand and mostly they ignore me and keep on sleeping where I found them.

I do a sweep several times a day to be sure all cats are accounted. They get separated from one another for different reasons. Groups gather and separate at different times. Peas is segregated otherwise she would be attacked. Hence, the bell on Feather and Spice. Mozart remains a kitty in search of a friend among cats. He craves hugs. Colleen will have to suffice. She laughs. Mo follows me wherever I go.

The other catalog

It’s muddled. The first 2400 or so files are a mix of new old digital and slides. The “hits” were culled for easy reference?

In 500k of images who cares?

There is an interesting mix that includes Saudi. Psychological? Break? -down?

No complaint. I think I am complete and can reference all my images/slides. Whatever. The latest? … the show. So we are set. … except confusion reigns once more. Once, there was reason to my madness…

One more…camera

If you follow me, then you will know I am camera crazy. Colleen has looms and spinning wheels… I just have lots of cameras. They sort of accumulate. I am poor at discarding things.

Nikon Z5, mirrorless. It follows the Canon M6 II. A real DSLR, sort of. And the first images. No selfie!? Oh no! But the usual suspects… flowers and cats.

Who knew? It was a pretty inauspicious start. It was pretty much an average day – 4/23/21. But anytime you break in a new camera… let the fun begin. Are there other cameras? Sure. There is always camera lust. But I am content. No need for me to get the high-end Leica or to enter the Canon system. A lens is a lens… well, not quite. But it is the image not the camera. I simply want my equipment to work and to get the image I seek. Right tool for the right job? If you aren’t good then no amount of equipment will make up for your lack of skill.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

I do believe in real cameras. 148k images and counting….


Me? Bored? … more like in a rut. Same old same old… Canon EOS M6 II

I wasn’t shopping cameras? But this popped up. How’d I miss it. Mirrorless. Different. Well, different technology. Change?!

Cats? We still had Patch and Willow. We are still together. Thank goodness. The first shots? Interesting. I shoot what’s around. Us. … you can see the bookcase is finished.

Bored? Nope! Just different. Another tool for another purpose. 79k images and counting.


I never thought of Sony as a camera. They make video. But as I dove, the merits of the RX100 family – models I to VI – became apparent as a sought-after underwater camera if you did not shoot with a DSLR. My Canon G7 point and shoot dive camera has so many images that I was sure it was about to fail from all the use it had received.

September 14, 2018. New camera. Sony RX100 VI. It would have been my dive camera but I had stopped diving in 2016. An excuse? to get the camera? Nope. None. Just camera envy. 133k images later it is still in the rotation. We have taken a lot of images together. It’s not exclusive but it is still in active use.

And the first pictures?… new car, building the bookcase, selfie, flowers, cats, all the usual… from my activities and interests at that time. Who knew? A year later I would be married too!


Black and white was easy. You could develop your own film. It was less expensive. I always felt like I was on a budget. Color slide seduced me. The image was fully contained in a small cardboard frame and they stored easily enough for me to have a collection.

The color seduced me. I eventually came to store more than 100k slides in multiple drawers most of which were custom built furniture.

Once I went over to digital cameras there was no need for Black and White. Art! It is good for art. I was about image and color and too busy to pause to make art. I was doing candids and events. I was documenting my world. And my world was in color. Ha ha. We are both wearing white… but…


When I switched to digital cameras Jules complained. She liked slides better. She was uncanny in her ability to tell the difference between film and digital. Nowadays…?

I watched the Oscars the other night. And, it occurred to me? what are they shooting – film or digital. It turns out very few film makers are shooting film. Oh! They call it movies. But the term is not specific and digital or film whatever may be does not have to be specified. Ha! Digital. Digital video has taken over. It never occurred to me. James Bond looks the same either way, just different actors.

Me? I was converted to digital for the simple reason of $. Digital was so much less $ and so much less work to go from camera to computer file. The telephone had an operator who connected you to your party. Now it’s all smart phone. Dave stores 100k images in the cloud. I grew up and clouds were for rain. Gee!

Plus one… the last images

I am a nut! Agreed! At any given time I have four cameras in active use… at the moment. Forget the iPhone. Nikon Z5, Canon G7, Sony RX VI, Canon EOS M6II. And there were many other camera… along the way.

This post illustrates the last shots from each camera old and new. Some cameras are pretty much retired and not much in use. This is just the digital image side. There were plenty more film cameras. But I have not shot film since Dave’s graduation in 2004. That was the very last roll of slide film I shot. Just like that!… a freezer full of Ektachrome slide film sat for years… until I could bear to throw bricks (20 rolls) away. Bricks!

Some digital cameras got a lot of use… others? … not so much. Each purchase was a good idea… at the time. So far so good.

Since I shoot pretty much every day, there are a lot of images… upwards of one million digital images. Meanwhile, I am saved by Lightroom which catalogs and keeps the utter mess and confusion in some semblance of order. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.

Interesting aside: it appears most of the “last” shots involved selfies or my cats. Boring?! It just falls out that way. No apologies! I got no complaints! The legacy I leave will be about the life/lives we lived.


So, the catalog is from 2016. Ostensibly. That is how I labeled it. It was split because I wondered if the current catalog would be too cumbersome for my computer. I long ago realized that the laptop was ample replacement for my desktop Macintosh. Meanwhile I am playing with nearly a million digital images. Is there a limit to Lightroom and the size of its catalog? Do you care? Ha! Bottom line: two catalogs – 2004 to 2016; 2016 to present. There is no rhyme or reason. And now I am realizing that my organization (memory) logic is lost. My catalog has the first 2400 images of both slide and digital mixed in. An archive of past activity? Who knows but it has given me ample confusion in keeping track of what is where and why.

Ok ok. My point? These 2016 images are kind of the real start to the catalog by date. The prelude is fine – I hardly refer to it in real life. And, there is a catalog of 2004 to 2016. I think. I can lay my hands on everything. Mostly…. If they were loaded to the hard drives properly. I think they must be there – properly – at least that’s my story…

At that time it was Colleen, myself, Elle, Willow, and Patch. Willow and Patch look alike. So who knows? Same cat or different cat; all I can say is that I am posting two pictures of white cats.


Tillie is a very misunderstood cat amongst our herd. She stares out the window at the bird feeder. I do not speak cat and can only guess what’s going on in her head. I let her out onto the deck periodically to chase the squirrels at our bird feeder. She chases the birds and squirrels away.

And, just today, Tillie shot out the door as I opened it. She headed to the left – forbidden – and dove between two flowerpots. She came away with something that looked like Styrofoam between her teeth. To my horror it was the tail end of a bird – feathers sticking out. Had she crushed the poor bird? Just as quickly I pried her jaw open to have the bird flop to the deck and then fly(!) away. Thank goodness!

Pfewf! That was traumatic for us both – the bird and I. Tillie just continued on her way over to the feeder stalking other birds and squirrels…. Darn! That cat is fast! She caught a bird out our door that fast?! Wow!

The cardinal, the parrot, the woodpecker, the LBJ (little brown job)? Just there to have a bird picture in the post today. Ha! One never needs an excuse to post a picture.

Line up

Command! At my command, they line up and pose for the family picture.

Hey! I finally did it. Colleen did not allow me to do it sooner. Mo was too new in the household. Black cats are notoriously difficult to photograph. Tillie! The rest do what I tell them. Oh sure! Paraphrasing Roy Scheider in the movie Jaw – we’re gonna need a bigger table!

First you clear the table – it was covered in spinning materials. Then you grab each cat – easier said than done. Shoot multiples, one will surely be serviceable. Everyone objects. No one smiles – except us. Then composite. It’s seems my table is not large enough. Oh well, I guess we will need two tables for nine cats…


In lieu of a group composite shot – the table is completely covered with stuff – I hunted down each cat and got a shot. Eight cats. Yeah, nuts! They don’t take up much space. They don’t demand much. We have our own individual relationship with each. They are dependent upon us. We get lots of love and affection from them. Characters, one and all. No group shot?! We got a selfie instead. …no posing was involved with the taking of these pictures.

Lap top

Laptop? A play on words? Nope. Cat in my lap. Ha! Their closeness is apparent, and they fidget. Try and hold a squirming cat whose claws are extended. Fun!? It was a photo op I don’t usually have. Eh? Do not end a sentence with a verb or preposition?

There is little in the world better than having a cat in your lap. It’s calming. It’s better than meditation. Or did I mean mediation? No matter. Try it! I consider myself one lucky guy!


Are you/am I …composing a blog post before I shoot? Or, are my posts inspired by my shots? Hmmmmm? Chicken or the egg? Do I/you care?

You see a shot… try to capture it. Technology lets me capture much of what I see. Given enough time… good enough equipment… I can get a picture of anything. Do I give up too soon? Sure. I did not get the shot of the spider web. It would have required a macro lens and manual focus. I did not have sufficient motivation to get up… but the cats in front of my laptop…. Shoot it with … flash!

There is luck involved. For sure. Subjects do not sit around waiting for me. I have to be quick. Camera at hand, I am fortunate to snap a few shots before everything changes and the moment is gone. I miss a lot of potential shots. I get a lot of shots I did not deserve to capture.

Colleen says I write well. Do I? Or is my writing inspired by her encouragement? Or, it is my photography? Do I like photography or writing more? Chicken or the egg, again? My blog was suggested and inspired by long lost cousin Amy. We are long since out of touch. I write from the heart as was pointed out by my freshman college instructor who was seduced by my words. Interesting to know and to observe, but nothing came of it until I used words to shamelessly woo Colleen decades later. I was already an accomplished photographer then.

And now I write and photograph, or perhaps, the other way ‘round. Colleen remains my muse. I am inspired to connect with an audience I do not know. But you readers are all appreciated. I have been at this since 2011. There is a lot of water under that “bridge!” Thank you all. I toil and persevere.

Squirrels gotta eat…

…too. Bird feeders, a free meal for the… squirrels. Smart creatures, they have broken into every bird feeder we have. How? Ingenious?! Ya gotta laugh. Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too.

We have trained cats. I whistle. The musical notes beckon Nutley and Tillie to come to the door. Out they scamper to chase the squirrels to no avail. But the cats know the drill and come right to the door. The squirrels run. The cats get exercise. The birds eat. All is right with the world order. How did that squirrel get inside the metal cage? Really?!

Cardinal in flight? Try it! It ain’t easy. Purely a lucky shot. I must have had my eyes closed.


Zen. I could go on for a long time. I won’t because I favor brevity.

The “…” you put on this morning…. Take wool. It starts as a sheep. The sheep is sheared which becomes fleece, which is washed, which is carded, which is spun, then dyed, then woven…. Socks!?

It’s a “zen” thing to spin. Repetitive, sameness, it gives you plenty of time to ponder. Wonderful! I am not patient! I am type A personality – go, go, go. No sitting and pondering please! Sorry, it’s just my nature.

I seek the “zen” of spinning, that rhythm, the rhythmic movement, repetitive moment, the constant peace one achieves as the yarn spins out ….endlessly between my fingers.

You may skip to the end and just don the socks to your feet. Or, you may shear the sheep and process the fleece through the many multi step process – fleece, to roving, to yarn, plying, and then weaving.

I am party to the process, partially, and wholly in the presence because Colleen has taken this as an avocation in her retirement.

I spin. I seek the “zen” of spinning, the conversion of a “mess” into a spun yarn which is then woven into “product.” Product? None to illustrate, we use it or Colleen gifts it. Ha ha.

As I have said in a few words… it is a process. Mastery? … a lifetime. Ommmm….


I met Colleen. I had never had a cat. Well, for about ten minutes when I was a kid in Elkins… I had a black cat named Pepper. My parents made me give it back.

But… three, five, seven, six, eight, seven, eight – cats. Colleen came with three cats. Feather and Spice came as twin Maine coons. Ray and Nutley followed when Ray latched onto my shirt at the pet store. Patch died. Tillie arrived to take Patch’s empty bowl and Peas came the next day when we found out the sister had been left behind in the pet store. Ray died. And now… tryouts… Mozart had joined the band of cats. He is on probation. Stay tuned. Colleen has doubts. He passed tryouts in the pet store. But… it is a long way to discover whether he fits into our home full of cats. Seven was a lucky number! But, I had eight bowls to feed. Somehow… But we are whole again.

Try and catch your cats. Get a picture. Yeah, right! I chased them all down. Easy and hard. But I got a shot of each, one the same day, within the same hour. It was quite the feat. They don’t exactly cooperate. No one smiles on cue. In fact, chasing them down led me on a merry chase around the house. I gotta clean. We got a lotta dust.

Eight!? It also happens to be the number of years we’ve been together…. oops, it’s nine. But, it is our anniversary, married – our fourth. Happy anniversary dear! (shhh! I almost forgot.)

Fun with food

We finished the meal so fast that there were no pictures of the food or the guests. Sort of. Ah! Sweet potato, scalloped and stacked differently.

The prelude was a different story. It was not a good day – to cook. I stuck the ham in the oven to hold it somewhere off the counter till I was ready to bake it. Colleen had the kitchen till noon and made a pumpkin pie for dessert. She preheated the oven. (You can see where this sad tale is going – South!!!) An odd smell wafted thru the kitchen. Yup!! The plastic wrapping for the ham melted all over the oven. Thick smoke filled the room for the rest of the afternoon. I/we still had to bake. Melted!! The ham juice and plastic were everywhere on the bottom of the oven. Great! (Grrrrr…!!) Colleen blew the pie crust. I had to go for more ham and return once again to the grocery for another pie crust. The meal from hell!

Don’t laugh. She also mistook a frozen phyllo dough for puff pastry. No harm, no foul. I recovered to make another spectacular dessert. Healthy! It was full of fruit! – and whipped cream.

Non sequitur – we were out to eat and came across a shop window. Mo’s art – ha ha. See, everything was not lost. No cats were harmed in the production of this meal….

Air tag

Technology. Don’t laugh. I came up with the idea because Mozart, the cat, likes to hide under things and can’t be found. I wanted to know where he was in the big house in order to protect him and the other cats from each other. Voila! Air tag!

Amazon was slow to deliver. We actually drove 100 miles to the Apple store… not really: we were passing the mall…

Brilliant!? It works. The tag chirps. I know where Mozart is withing the context of the house. It chirps. The first morning… the collar and Air tag were lying on the floor at Mozart’s feet. Good trick!

Mozart found “bird TV!” Fascinating! All the other cats shunned him. Nutley hissed. (see photo) And poor Tillie was hysterical!! As in, she jumped three feet in the air and ran! Yeah, this is going real well. (I just hate it when Colleen is right!! And, she’s always… right!)

The upshot?: Mozart never hid under anything anymore after he was released into the main house. Everyone else ran from him. Shunned. He wanders at will. Feather – she got the air tag; she’s always a fraidy cat. And, the tag was on the floor shed unceremoniously by my favorite cat. The first time it chirped when she wore it? She was insulted and had a “what the” me??? look on her face. Yeah, it’s a good trick to have a look like that on a cat. Colleen laughed out loud.