Word and Image

Flowers

Fill time

It is a rare day that goes by without me taking pictures. Subject? Ah! Cats and flowers… they are available and do not object too much. Seven cats – only a few are cooperative. The rest avoid me.

Take a picture just to take a picture? Umm, I consider it a challenge. Get a technically sound image with some wrinkle in detail – water – that is a bit out of the ordinary.

Busy time activity? Boredom? Warding away the doldrums of retirement? Ha! Colleen fills her time with reading. For me, there are only so many times I can hit the refresh button on the NY Times.


Muse

I wonder why I blog? Not too much. But… ego? Show off? Do I need to share? Am I needing accolade?

It started a while back as a suggestion from cousin Amy. It has lasted. Occasionally, there are mentions from my family and friends. “Likes” and “comments” here are appreciated. Of course!

Colleen! Yes! My muse. She is the current driving force. Ginny commented that things got a lot more personal when Colleen entered my life again. Sure. It was always in me from freshman college English. I could/can always write. But the personal side… that is/was guarded.

Meanwhile, beauty and wonder are all around. I marvel at the images my camera will produce. I do not consider myself an artist in the “drawing/painting” sense. But I enjoy documenting my life. I am creating a legacy while capturing life as it unfolds for me and for Colleen. Lately, I’ve begun to wonder how legacy carries on. Not too many people use telegraph or horseback these days. Do you still have a hard line phone?

As ever, I remain fascinated at the detail my camera lens can capture.


What lives

Year to year. Annuals are flowers that last the summer and die with the frost. Cherish them. Water them. Enjoy! We plant again in the spring. Start over. Cherish them…


Whimper

I recall vividly that the last slide I shot was at Dave’s graduation. Little did I know or suspect film would so suddenly be gone in my life. I just simply never went back. I did not look back. And I have not shot a roll of film since my Nikon D70 arrived late after I got home from work. Who knew?!

Nothing of import was on that last roll of slides. The deck, my dog, Dave, the school play and some flowers numbered among the mundane subjects. Interesting to see. I had never really checked until now.


What’s in yours?

Ha ha. My Lightroom catalog reflects what is in my life. Of course! Family! Love. Life. Food. Sunrise. Sunset. Cats. Antique stores. Flowers. Sheep. Fiber. I state the obvious. There is so much. No going back. I wish…. I miss Lulu (Saudi). I love Feather and Spice. …and Colleen. Transformational. Colleen has made all of life worth living these days. I hope the day never ends.


Develop

Develop has a whole new meaning these days. It used to mean taking film and transforming it into a print. Digital images require no printing. Manipulation can transform an image into something it wasn’t when it started. Cropping? Or, there are black and white conversions. Or toning. Whatever. The effects can be dramatic. So many flowers, so little time.


Point and shoot

I humbled myself this morning. I was passing over these images and simply assumed I had shot them with my trusty “big camera and lens.” Wrong, it was my point and shoot Canon G7. Too easy, the camera was too basic to get shots like these. Nope! Each and every one was the G7. I’m so biased. I do not believe iPhone to be a worthy camera. In a pinch, but not a mainstay, the iPhone lens is too small!

It’s not the camera it’s the photographer, eh?!


This year

It happened. Can it be? Covid – mask? Ukraine? Travel? Events? Forbidden?

Though many around us have been touched by covid – children, grandchildren, cousins and so forth….

We went to the museum to see the new exhibit. It’s on loan and traveling from Long Island. Photos forbidden. Oops! I already shot by the time Colleen pointed it out. Does this fall under street photography? It was illustrative that covid was still in our thoughts.

Taken at random the flower or the fish could have been anywhere. I needed the white gate to orient me. Aha! Winterthur – been there!

Random sunset. Or perhaps sunrise? It would depend on which side of the car windows I was shooting. Aha! Metadata?! 6:56PM.

Fine photography? No, nope, not hardly… but, fine by me.


Incomplete

Information? What? I have a Lightroom catalog titled Images 2016 – meaning 2016 onward. This is distinguished from “all digital images” “slides” and so forth. It is a rough divider to allow for easier search of the many many images in each catalog. This catalog has nearly 500k images. Repeats? There are not supposed to be any. It is a one way – forward – catalog.

So, the beginning of the catalog is anything but 2016.

It seems that I took stray photos/slides/images and just mashed them into this catalog. Logic? I do not know what logic. The end of the catalog – now – is current images, digital, of course.

What?

My first digital camera – Canon G3. The Nikon D70, my first digital DSLR, and a pictrure of the digital clock; I was working late (neurosurgeon) and got home to open the new box and shoot the clock among the first. I dropped Dave off in college long before 2016. Jules helped build the slide cabinet I would not need. Drawers – we built a lot of drawers on the deck. Of course, with digital, who needs drawers to store slides any more? The drawers are full. But more than half are not slides.

Julia and dad at her track meet; gee I was a good attentive dad. The rope swing was lost when the tree trimmers cut down the branch above it. We never spoke about it (the swing) again after that. Face painting – they were but kids. A dramatic graphic of tulips – striking against the tile floor of the Long Island kitchen. Nice. Iconic for me! … English child, street photography in the ‘70’s.

It was, this is, a hodge podge of a collection of photos digital and scanned. I suppose they followed me from computer to computer on each successive hard drive to form a core of what I could store given the supplied hard drive memory with each laptop.

I am so organized. And not! All the images slide and digital reside on multiple redundant hard drives. I wonder who will sort thru them when I am gone? Will anyone bother? Historical. But worth preserving? Ah! An external drive is so small nowadays. Who knows? I won’t.


Three star

I rate my pictures as I edit. Two stars – technically good, not outstanding, but a good shot. Three stars – a little bit better. I’m looking through three star edits. No worries. Good shots. Fun. Solid. Wow! They might make you smile. It’s not necessarily an easy shot to get. The smiles are real. I can admire my technical prowess sometimes. It’s like kids. Don’t you love them all? Equally?


Fast forward

Life is in fast forward these days. There’s no let up soon. We returned from Maine and flew to California. Day trips. Thanksgiving at our house. Ohio a couple of trips. We are on the go. In between there is a lot of fleece to wash, card, and spin. No boredom around here. Looking back at the first part, maybe that was the slow part?

Family, kids, nature, cats… repeat.


Guilt

I am racked with guilt. Even when they were both with us, I could never tell the difference between Ray and Nutley looking at them head on. There was a white collar of fur on Ray’s neck. Flowers look the same too? Right? You don’t mistake your kids? Relatives? Friends?

Ha ha. Freudian? I started to list the cats as “family” in the category and tags.


Sit

Solitude:

sol·i·tude [ˈsäləˌt(y)o͞od]

noun

the state or situation of being alone: she savored her few hours of freedom and solitude

synonyms: loneliness, solitariness, remoteness, isolation, seclusion

Far from loneliness!… more like contentment.

I never sit! It’s not in my DNA. Poor Colleen! The chairs beckoned on this fine fall day. Clouds in the distance, sun overhead, the chairs beckoned, we sat. Me? I did! The warmth of the sun, the one you love, gentle breeze, sounds of the sea, call of the gulls – idyllic. You can be remote and all alone but not alone. Solitude is not so bad sometimes. It defied description on this day.


What do you shoot?

I got about eleven cameras in rotation. I shoot regularly with four right at this moment. Other cameras are in closets or on the shelves having outlived their usefulness giving way to the newest latest greatest technologies. I have several iPhones. Only one is in current use. So?

The question arises: what camera do you use? It depends on the circumstance. For events like an Indian Powwow I want to use the “big gun” and the “big lens.” It’s nice to have choices. I keep a camera on my desk: clouds, moon…. I have a camera on the dashboard of the car. You never know. Colleen is a good sport about taking pics rather than my handling the camera while driving. Good! I have a camera in the dining room to get grab shots of the cats when they are frantically trying to be cute or to avoid me. I use a macro lens for my flower garden and otherwise I am zoom lens on pretty much everything. I tend to the maximum zoom. So, why not a prime zoom at that focal length? TMI!

It was a simple question. I download to five redundant external drives under the assumption that everything electronic breaks down – eventually.

What do you shoot? What do I shoot? Mainly it breaks down to fitting the camera to the need. It is nice to have choices.

Now, to wives? There is only one!! One! One and only?!!! Different day different camera, but only one wife!


End of the season

It’s the end of the garden season. I try to have color all spring and summer. Flowers, even annuals, have a season and some do not last all season. Glancing briefly at last year there was a better season, so it seems. There were more picturesque blossoms that lasted longer. Really? Does it matter? We go forward. But, gee, I wish I were getting better.

The best I can say is “different.” Each season is learning what works and what did not. No complaints. The nurseries carry different flowers. Some work; some do not. Be positive. Be happy. Don’t worry.

Don’t worry. Be happy!


Best boy

How long is mourning? Not a day goes by lately that I don’t miss our departed Ray. I guess it was his sudden death? Nutley, his brother, is identical in photos except for the color of the fur around his neck. It’s hard to tell. Trust me. I edit and it’s hard to tell Ray from Nutley. Our other twins – Spice and Feather – are equally hard to distinguish in pictures.

Storm’s coming. Here’s a neat trick. I have trained the cats. I clap hands and say, “Go!” They trot to the door and come in off the deck. Yes!

You will notice the clip and rope around Ray’s neck. He and his brother staged frequent jailbreaks over the fence of the deck, hence, the restraint.

As I said before, we miss Ray.


Who’s watching

Colleen reads my blog. She is very complimentary. Of course! Well, thank goodness. She is quick to tell me if she dislikes something. She is my number one fan and supporter. Do I need more?

They keep statistics on the parent website. It tracks visits and views and from which country I am being viewed. I have been seen from around the world. Not all at once but over time someone from almost every country has seen one of my posts. Impressive! I am awed at the reach of the internet. Some folks even come back more than once.

So. Today. I see some nice things. Peonies. Who knew? I ignore them in the plant nurseries. They put on an utterly amazing display in the spring. It’s too short for me to plant in my container garden. I want color all summer long. But spectacular! My thanks to the patient gardeners who have such a brief but spectacular show. It’s still pandemic as evidenced by the cat mask (Colleen made it, my favorite).


Same ole’

It’s easy to slip into your comfort zone. I shoot cats, family, and flowers. There is some travel, restaurants, food, and museums. Events are an occasional opportunity. It is a running legacy. Does anyone care?

By now you’ve seen about as many cats and flowers as you might ever wish to see. There are stories. Sure. But how interested is anyone in the saga of my cats? Good pictures? Technically so, they are I suppose. Good stories? For a laugh, maybe they are. Somewhat.

I write. It’s an outlet. I illustrate. Or, perhaps I photograph to illustrate? Eh? I photograph. I decided I cannot draw or paint. Photographs don’t lie. Except when they do. I photograph. I tell stories. I suppose you should be glad not to be my cat. Too many pictures.


Boring

Not! Life is never the same. We finished a kitchen renovation. What happens if you don’t like the color? Now, for the backsplash – I was gonna tackle that job. Experience? None! Ha ha. Confidence or stupidity? Easy! Except if, the tiles are not fitting the wall height or width, and, there are outlets to cut around. Oh boy! The weather! It’s always fun. Clouds, color, the moon all provide ample opportunity to capture a good image. Why are there always telephone poles in my images? Flowers?! Too numerous to count. While renovating we had to eat out. Eh? You know who likes to eat out!


Revival

https://photocriticism.wordpress.com/

Scotland! I owe Colleen a return trip. Our flight was canceled at the onset of the Covid shutdown. It rains a lot in Scotland, hence the same rain jackets throughout. This time we will take more rain gear. The thistle is a Scottish national emblem. Cat? Shhh… not mine. We cannot pass a bookstore without stopping.

Ah! Revival? I have resurrected my old blog site Photocritical. In case you clicked on it in the past… I have recently begun to post there once again. Thank you all who have followed and visited this blog. Meanwhile, I am making a shameless plug for you to have the opportunity to see other photos.


Lately

What’s up?

Today is a series of non sequiturs. Bugs? Caterpillars? They walk into my pictures and jump onto my camera sensor on the way to my memory card. See the fine hair detail on the bug? There’s not much detail in the caterpillar. Was it me or the worm? Colleen made a cobbler from fresh picked white peaches. Yum! Cats preoccupy our attention. I am charged with getting their pictures. It’s a specialty. Cats do not pose on demand. Ever! Clouds? Lately the clouds have been distinct against a bright blue sky. Great! Flowers? Macro lens and super detail. The featured flower gives me the impression it is waiting to devour an unsuspecting bug that wanders into its maw. So many pictures so little time…


Azalea woods

Winterthur. Springtime. Spectacular! We should do this more and again. We never do. There is always so much else to do and so much to see. I live near the beach and don’t go to walk there nearly as often as we should.

The azaleas are in full bloom. Peonies, rhododendron, and the hydrangea all contribute to the colorful display. Mr. DuPont would be happy to know his garden legacy is so appreciated. We certainly felt privileged to be there among his blooms planted so long ago that others would benefit so many years later.


Cruisin’

I cruise the garden for photo ops. I sit and photo the dawn and dusk out my window. I get a gallery’s worth of pics. My cats are not exactly cooperative. The key is to focus on their eyes. They won’t look at me. Boring. Me?! Ha ha! Bugs come and go. They fly in and I shoot. Water? It rains and I water. It’s another opportunity. Life is pretty peaceful right now. I hope it stays that way.


Reform

Ha ha. I just broke my own resolve. One image. One story. I can do that?! Ok, I shall be less exuberant. Sort of? Confused? Well, the blog started as one picture a day. And with so much material…. Meanwhile, Spice looks stern enough to hold me accountable. Right!? Water and flowers? It’s a good picture. And it is different. I get thousands of pictures of the flowers in my garden at this time of year. So?! The same pictures? Boring! Well, not exactly. It’s like clouds, every one is different. Yeah, but! Go figure. Flowers and cats, my favorite subjects at this time of year are worthy images. It’s for fun after all. And I do it to showcase good images. Redundancy was never an issue before. Am I repeating myself? Was there a story here? We’ll see. Pun?