Word and Image

Flowers

Flowers

Cut flowers have no chance in our house. The cats like flowers – to eat! Yes, laugh. The oddity extends to the artificial flowers too! Yes, they eat plastic. Taste? I don’t know why in the world, but they eat the flowers. And, they like it. Look closely. The petals nearest Nutley are gone. There goes the idea of gifting this plant.


A year ago

3/11/21 – this year, designated the “one year anniversary”

57 million vaccinated – have had one shot or more

Vaccine – an actual one was developed in less than a year

Speech – a national address by our (real) leader on the 1st anniversary. trump???? who????

Covid relief American rescue package – it passed. Not a single republican voted for it. Traitors.

Eve of 2nd shot – I got mine the next day.

“If somebody said ‘N95’ to you one year ago, you’d think they were a bingo caller.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

They talk about a year ago. 3/11/20. Anniversary of corona. Where were you? Memorable? No, it just came and went as an ordinary day. I can note it/did note it, because I have a photo diary. The news and late night shows were full of the “anniversary.” The “event” (last year) was marked by the shutdown of Delaware by the governor. For us it was the evening/night of 3/16/20. All business was shut. A year later, the library opened for the first time. We did a little victory dance. Anniversary Day +1 is my second shot. I’m old. For most the first shot is months away. For others, they will be foolish, ignore the science, and decline the vaccine. What a world? What a time? The “former guy” is out of office. Sanity, truth, and science have returned. If you commit a crime, you do not get a free pass – see Gov Cuomo. Yeah, it’s been a hell of a f’n year!

What were/where were you? We learned to make Nantucket baskets and ate Thai as they announced all business was closed. The flowers were in bloom. (Not yet this year.) I was in my fake flowers/vases phase. Colleen made a “Giovanni” burger for me. The groceries were suddenly without TP! Toilet paper!?!? Patch was sleeping soundly through it all on our bed. It’s not an anniversary. That would impart more of a celebration. This was more like – “yeah, I was there. Ain’t it amazing when you look back?” Life, as we knew it, changed right afterward.


Aha!

Shutterfly. I mused about the company and how they had my photos which they email to me to induce me to buy prints. Who owns them? But, I get how it works now. They have a deal with Apple. I post to the cloud and share on Apple. Apple licensed Shutterfly to use my photos to induce me to patronize their site. Nice! Not really. Everyone’s gotta make money. Nuthin’s for nuthin.’ The bastards got me. Shutterfly is insidiously sneaky. They started sending me photos taken years ago when I uploaded to Kodak. The glove are off now. They sent me flower shots from this past summer. For the record I got prints made from Mpix. No reason. They just happened to be advertising when I wanted prints. And CVS. I doubt I shall ever succumb to Shutterfly. I don’t like the fact that you are using my own photos to promote yourself.


Phases

This was my fake flower phase. I collected bunches and stuck them in our spare vases. And then I went and got vases to…. I’m collecting old cameras – about $10 tops – because they are curious connections to a past I never knew. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 100 and the first I ever used was an Argus C3. Colleen collects old bobbins. We like stuff and things. They gather dust… and cat hair. No matter. Would it be ok to say we collect dust too?


Black

Black flowers are deep dark purple… well, it’s black to me. There are no such black flowers. Okay! It sure looks black to me. But then again, they don’t exist. I have to wonder how the owner came by these unusual annuals? We were on a house tour of historic New Castle. I like finding things they tell me don’t exist. And, I have never seen a magnolia tree seed pod (rock, under, me). – That’s the pod upper right.


Hard to do

The conditions need to be just so in order to photograph a spider web. The camera does not want to focus on the tiny strands. I did it… yay… but it’s not particularly inspiring. I will wait another day. Meanwhile, it’s not easy posing your cats. And for that matter it’s hard to photograph a strawberry… without eating it first. That happened to the blackberry (no pic available).       


I can do it again

Jen’s garden philosophy is “sparse” but “showy.” Her specimens cry out of a garden catalog unlike the chaos that reigned in my garden. Each flower occupies a center of attention while it blooms akin to Japanese zen. Same picture, four times, different flower, one handed – I had the beer in the other hand.

And once more (twice now), seven cats, three sets of twins and Elle. I made up for it with two shots of Elle. I like even numbers. It wasn’t roll call. Can you even tell them (twins) apart? Same photographed cat twice? I have seven dishes to feed them wet food. And there is a cat for each bowl. The twins eat isolated in the bedroom to prevent them cruising the other bowls. The vet observed Nutley was a little too plush/f’ass (fat ass). F’ass? Balme Covid, everybody – you know who (shhhh) – gained weight? (I’ll pay for that last statement.) No names, please!! I’ve been done in by most excellent cheesecake. And yes, it was contagious – the darn cheesecake, no matter how small the slice.


So many subjects…

… not enough time. Two guys decided to make a spectacle of themselves as much as play golf. Hmmm, they are only a letter away – as(s). Meanwhile, Colleen went into the garden and made a cut flower arrangement. Ok! Successful! Wow! Really, I am being complimentary. I am less destructive and would not (couldn’t bear to) ordinarily cut them myself. She’s got a good eye. Cue, the applause.


Detail

We’re beyond just another pretty flower. I have been striving to get detail – close-up of the inner anatomy of flowers. For some flowers it’s not an easy task. The angle and the light conspire to obscure the target. Bees have it easy. But it’s not so for me and my camera. And then, you get it! Serendipitous? No, skill. Ha ha!  It’s more like 50% close your eyes and shoot, and, 50% skill. Eh? Let me tell you that it took all summer to get to the point where I got these shots.


Pan(dem)ic

I am a firm proponent for cameras. After all, right tool, right situation. Soup should not be eaten with an iPhone for a spoon. Alas, I am shoveling shit against the tide. Digital camera sales are 10% what they were in 2010. Aha! Everyone has one. The system is full! Nope! Not hardly, it’s more like everyone uses an iPhone as their prime camera. Can you really squeeze all that power down from my trusty digital camera into the little itty bitty iPhone? Uhhhh… no! But that doesn’t stop most of the world from using iPhone. My lament, a lone voice among so many iPhones. I suppose you can drive either a Hyundai or a Porsche. You choose. The camera fallout: fewer cameras to choose from. It’s not so bad. Hardline phones have evolved into mobile communicators. We see the world through two eyes. There’s no telephoto zoom on my eyeballs. Check the fine detail in the flowers. iPhone would have a hard time matching my camera. Easy or hard, it’s a choice. I shall not let a podiatrist do my brain surgery.


White dots, black background

Astrophotography. It requires a whole new skill set. It’s another language to locate stars in the sky. I was never particularly good at locating the North Star. It’s about as easy for me as to see duckies among the clouds above. I’m hopeless. I could never follow trail signs to get that Boy Scout merit badge. If you take me somewhere, I will always get home again. But, certain things are complete confusion for me. I sought that elusive Neowise comet streaking through our skies. It won’t be back for 69 hundred years. How about that? I won’t be here when it returns. Darn! I got a bunch of white dots on a black field. You may laugh. Please! There was a single streak. Aha! The comet?! Nope, probably camera movement. It’s not the tail. Settle instead for another flower picture. It looks like it’s in the daisy family. Alas, I don’t know its name either. But, it’s a better pic than my astro shot.


Right place…

…right time. Margie came over for a visit. Her pedigree was uncertain so we ‘masked.’ It was blazing hot and 100% humidity. We sat on the deck and sweltered in place. It was horrible. Colleen hates being hot and sweaty. Funny! She didn’t crack a bead of sweat. So, there we were. I was hot melting in place and the ruby throated hummingbird made an appearance. A few shots, wrong camera, no time, I got what I could. Not bad, eh? Eh?!!!


Something…

Different? Same? You get in a rut. I am (in a rut). Cat? Flower? All the posts run together. Good pictures. Boring? When I was in Jeddah, I was (gently, Carol) reminded, enough fish. Ha ha! It’s easy to be caught in the moment. I am/was (lately) shooting the cats and flowers. So, what else? We’ve been on self-imposed lockdown. It’s nice that the one (my dear wife) I love has insisted we be safe. That leaves me hanging between flowers and cats. Clematis. We got a second round of blooming. It’s a bit unusual, this specimen. I haven’t seen it in the nursery. If I look, I will find it among my African pictures. Instead, here’s a recent shot. It was a lot easier than diving into the archives. My own memory bank is still better than my database.

Ha ha, when you run out of cats and flowers…


Rain

It rained. The light is muted. And the raindrops, oh the raindrops! Spectacular! Nature is kind to me. The flowers are great in their own right. But, add the rain – sublime.


Deck time

I’m too far ahead. We are in July as I write and it’s November as I publish. Too many good images, too little time. I should have made a cat blog. Have I said that before? They (the cats) like to look out through the rail. What? I don’t know. Longing? The photo below is not a selfie. It’s my attempt to shoot a view of the flower that is on a plant 6ft tall overlooking the rail. It’s a reverse view (like a dive with a full twist in pike position…). Forget it. I got a bee! That was a bonus. I did not intend to see myself. That was an unforced error. My cats? They are still wondering what’s outside the rails. …not me.


Finally…

I’ve been trying for a “flying bee” shot. No dice. Persist. Finally! It’s not the bee I wanted to photograph. Hey! I did it! Now, what’s wrong? The wings are beating too fast to capture in the image. Ha ha! I have to use a superfast shutter speed. Nope, it’s not happenin’. Meanwhile, I shall seek to shoot a honey bee its legs loaded down with pollen…


Angel light

I was once told that the sun rays emanating from the clouds is angel light. That’s good enough for me. We had a good day. Gratitude, I got plenty. A couple days back, a couple posts ago… happy – to be here… and with the one I love.


Exercise

I have a good example of the zoom capability of the Sony RX100 VI. Three successive photos show the telephoto detail of the hydrangea in the distance. How far? … near ½ mile. You can’t see the petals. But, that dot of color indeed is a large hydrangea bush.

Of, course, if you saunter over, you just might get some nice blossoms.


Detail

Subtle details are often revealed when I take the time to look closely. That’s when you need that “critical focus.” It also helps to have multiple shots. There’s always a blurred image – (as with any group picture, there’s always someone with their eyes closed). Fine hairs? See the hibiscus. I credit a darn good lens. And water is always tricky. Close-ups don’t give you a lot of depth of field. Sometimes nature conspires. The steady rain wilted my newly bloomed lily. I got some nice water. Colleen says my eye sight is failing. At least the camera lens compensates for other shortcomings.


Pollen

I’m still trying to catch a bee in flight. Someday… Meanwhile, I get my share of bees. Pollen collects on their legs. It’s fun to get a detailed shot. I have lots of good shots. Some stand out a bit more. I’m happy to share.


Different

Every day you take the same photos. Once in a while you take something different. It might be a long time between. It’s worth it. Patience! It’s something I lack. Don’t laugh. If you don’t wander the garden because the same flowers are there same as yesterday…


Evolution

No, not the genetic debate. (Shhh… there really isn’t any debate.) …It’s the change occurring in my photography as a result of change in my cameras. It has caused my technique to evolve. Evolution is slow and the change that results is subtle until it isn’t. I found the DSLR viewfinder of my Nikon D610 to be restricting. I got (am now) used to a movable LCD screen that allowed me to get down to eye level with my cats. This translated to: getting down to eye level with the flowers in my garden. There are a lot of moving variables to consider: shutter, composition, focus…. I get it that iPhone users just want to click and forget. All around me, family has little or no interest and they are quite content to have iPhone as their primary camera. That little tiny lens… Yes, a screw driver is a hammer in a pinch. But, the converse is untrue.


Bugs

I liken my flower photo expeditions to the dives I did in the Red Sea. Walk around the garden and shoot the flowers. Not fish, flowers. And then pick out the best. And sometimes I get fauna – bugs. Lady bug, bee with pollen. Neat! It’s a plus!

I don’t Photoshop. I can. I would. I don’t much. Can you get it? But, there are exceptions as on this occasion where my vision and the photo needed tweaking to match my imagination.


Asian lily

Once a year for about two weeks… just for the briefest period, I am treated to the most spectacular show. It’s private, me and Colleen. There are no other relatives available to appreciate them. They have/had not arrived for summer in time. So this show is purely ours alone. Timing, it’s all about the timing. That’s it, just a couple weeks. Nothing, the rest of the year. Worth it? Ummm, you bet!

Spectacular! Gone too soon. What a show! It was!