Word and Image

Photography

Sitting tight

We got seven cats and counting. Counting? Holding! No more cats. It’s a hard resolution to abide by. You have to be hardened. Cute!! The new kittens in the pet store are cute!! Don’t take my word for it… I am banned from going in the pet store. The interview: stick finger inside the cage; see who grabs on and clings; take lucky (winning) candidate home. It’s how we got three sets of twins. Ha ha. Ya can’t leave/take just one! Seven cats, characters all, it’s a madhouse of personalities. We keep going back to the pet store… cats gotta eat.


Sorry, I’m standing…

We go to museums. We have fun. The opportunity presents. I take advantage. We get something a little different. If this inspires you…. I don’t bother strangers. We pose one at a time and then the composite is done in post processing. Ok?! If not, sorry. It ain’t perfect. Does it matter? Too many questions. I smile each time I post these to the family. Some in the family may question my sanity. Since my head injury, I have not been in my right head. But, then again, I been doin’ this longer than that.

Disclaimer: No sisters were harmed in the making of these images.

Note: Rauschenberg did White panels in 1951, MOMA, worth $15 million in 2014. White paint on panels, imagine that!!?? He did black panels too. Whoa! Genius! The Emperor’s New Clothes, Hans Christian Andersen. I had to look it up….


Ummm, ok

Useless facts they point out on tours… The table top is from a single tree trunk and the edge was carved of that same trunk. The gilt on the porcelain ware is platinum. It maintains its shine better that way. The room was altered to accommodate the size of the rare wallpaper. The upholstery of the setee was cut from a woman’s fancy dress – the ultimate in re-purposing. George Washington slept here: how about he ate here? It’s dishes from his home. Thanks for the info. I also discovered that antique silver was polished every 20 years. More polish and the metal wears away so much that the silver weight is less. Once every 20 years… Umm, ok!


I remember this one

I remember taking the pic of this flower. We – I was rushing along the pool edge to get to the other side… this would be a grab shot. I just fired off a couple frames and didn’t stop.  Specifically, we were visiting Winterthur. A nice day, a very nice day was had by all. We did the garden tram tour. And, I made Colleen and Lee stand on the stairs for which Lee was reluctant – camera shy. I cut off their ankles. Did you notice? The pond view with three flowers had potential. Alas. It did not translate as anything special in the edit. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. Hey! Ankles would’ve been better.


Good-bye

…… till we meet again. It ain’t great photography. But it’s poignant and a keeper. We will remember good-bye for a long time to come. It breaks my heart. Snapshots. I carry a camera. You have your phone. We commemorate small moments to future remembrance. Profound? Nope, just fact. We miss them already. Caveat: keep a camera close and handy at all times. Do not be shooting said camera while driving – like I did.


Who’s missing?

Missing? Ha ha. It’s cats and flowers. I simply have too many. Flowers are available in great quantity, too numerous to choose one above the others. Cats, I have seven. Try to herd them together. Nope, not happening. The best I can do is to get some individual shots (of the cats) and usually I will not see them all at the same time. Feather is smart enough to avoid me when she wants to hide. Smart cats? Oh, yes! May I also “point” out that the family responds to command and suggestion differently as is amply on display here. They are cooperative but can be hard to herd together too.


High tea

Who thought of this? I was along for the photo-op – the only guy at the party. High tea! – the way it oughta be. Hats! Dress-up. Tea. Tea sandwiches and little desserts. There was even a tiered arrangement stacked with goodies to eat. I wonder whether the guest of honor will remember this high tea in her honor? A good time was had by all.


Point

Group shots. Same ole. Same pose. Create? Creative. Do something different? I tried jump. It’s too crowded. Raise your hands. That can be done. Not too good (results). Raise one hand. It works. It’s different. Been there done that. Point?! Hmmm…. Funny, it was hard to get the group to point simultaneously. Really?! Eventually, they did it. I may be on to something here. Group shots.!? Fun. It is documentation of a gathering. Family, they were all here in this time and this place. Priceless.


Technically good

At this time of the year I am taking pictures of the flowers in my garden. And there are so many – too many – good shots – to mention or to post. Pick. Right! I suppose the bee that flew into my picture would be serendipitous. Fun! Yes, pick one. I can’t. With so much material to edit, I am helpless to pick a single image among the lot. It’s ok. No need to be alarmed. We can post as we may. It’s all in fun. There was a time when film cost money and experimentation was limited. Nowadays I am no longer constrained. It certainly allows you to explore and find new ways to do things.


Icebreaker

I have a secret life. ??? I am shy. My interests are unlike most other people. In other words they find me boring or I do them. Large groups are worse. It is a lot of noise and chatter. Politics no, nope, nada – outta bounds. What? So, I just circulate the room and never say anything. No harm no foul. I enjoy my solitude with Colleen. As for the rest, they all pose when I point the camera as I document the family legacy. Who would remember the conversation anyway? The upshot: I was there: we wuz there: there is a historical record for the generations to come. Good. Boo! Negative waves! Nope, a good time was had by all… see the smiles!


Groups

At the end of the day photography is about creating anchors for your memory. Landscape and wildlife shots are ooo and ah. But the real keepers are the photos of family and friends to commemorate a gathering that can be recalled in some future years. How quickly does memory fade and how poignant to see loved ones. Some folks are camera shy and reluctant. It cuts both ways with few appreciating the value and later realizing that the legacy is so sweet. I try to get groups whenever I can. Some are larger than others. All folks seem to appreciate the effort and gesture. Herding cats is akin and often the pics are not ideal for everyone especially if your eyes were closed. But it is the record. After seeing so many poor grainy black and white groupings from the past, mine are apropos to the times and the technology available today. With a remote control I am even in many of the shots.


Smiles

Too numerous to count…. Smiles are everywhere as the family has its annual gathering. The players change, come and go, arrive and depart. The smiles linger. You can’t but help smiling yourself. It’s always hectic. There are personalities, large and small. The smiles tell you all. …it’s a good time. Indeed! Rory was hugging me tight all the while saying, “Mine!” That melted my heart! Of course!!


Once a year

… or thereabouts. We are clean. We are not messy. We are never dirty. We are dusty. We are never uncluttered. That is to say, the counters are never clear. Shall we say, “Less worse?” Ha ha. We accumulate stuff. You gotta understand. I was never poor. I was never hungry. But, I sometimes keep a lot of food on hand. So it overflows the pantry. I have three refrigerators and a freezer. One is a small beer fridge. But, everything is full. Yeah, we just keep things on hand, just in case… Clean? Yes, we have company coming. So, time to be neat. I’m not bragging. It’s home. We like it – “less worse.”


Five star

I rate images with stars in Lightroom. Here are some five star images. They merit being posted alone but there are too many images. Julia taught me jump images – in Africa. I already knew, but, this was the practical application. I have seen great beauty. Maine! I lived there are few years… Some of my best fall colors come from those times. Fun?! I traveled to nearby Massachusetts for Patriot’s Day. For fun, I was (wink) nearly shot. Notice too that the reenactment soldiers turn their head when firing their muskets. It’s no wonder you could fire from point blank range and miss the target. The birds are Atlantic puffins. I paid dearly – seasick – to get to see them.


Practice

I got good! Better?! New baby! This was my first try with our brand-new granddaughter. Photographically it was a success. I have learned. Hey! It’s not too late to learn. What? There are so many things to keep in mind – exposure, focus, composition, timing, etc. Whatever. As in, whatever makes you smile, is a “keeper,” a “winner.” You gotta shoot a lot of pictures to get a “keeper.”

Cats. What I learned from my cats helped me get better shots of newborn babies. ?? Cats do not pose or follow instructions. They – cats – do not smile on demand. And most importantly I learned to position my camera lens in front of the eyes instead of waiting for the cat to look at me when I called. Eye contact! Aha! Simple, ain’t it?


Do you see…

…what I see. Ha ha. Christmas in July? August? Macro is a counter-intuitive term to me. It should be macro. So?! Whatever. I see detail. I cannot see it (fine detail) without that macro lens, and only after post-processing. Do you?

Here’s how it goes: The detail of the (hairy) pistil is only evident when you enlarge the image by about 10X. Oh! Ah! There’s a fine line between ooooh and ah!

Dammit! (an aside) All of this posting ain’t free. You run out of storage space and pay WordPress an annual fee. Damn! So, I’m outta space. Just now! Just this very post! And, I gotta pay – more! I almost stopped publishing. Oh, well, I guess the show will go on. Send money please….

At the end of the day, it’s all macro, through my macro lens. But, some things are enlarged further. I could do it all with normal lens – mostly, but not all. Technology?! Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Colleen, the credit card bill went up again.


A day

Pulling out of the garage, there was Willow on the balcony. Left there, he might be cooked/baked in the sun. That would be awkward. Do ya think? He’s a good cat. We love him. … inside.

A new restaurant. Italian, in a strip mall? Ok?! The waitress sings while you eat. Oops! Not a waitress, the owner!? Major oops! Jen made the reservation. It was her faux pas. Fun?! You bet. What to wear? Shorts? Do you remember eating formally with a tie and jacket?

Stop! We had to stop for a spectacular sunset on the way home. A couple would not clear my shot. Ok! No complaint except I wish it was someone photographing us. But, you get the idea. And, I love my wife… you see a sunset you hold her hand.

Protocol? It said in big bold letters: Absolutely no recording or photography. There was a metal detector and bag check as we entered. You cannot keep cellphones out of the venue. People either don’t read or don’t care – they took video throughout the performance. Me? Break the rule/law? … at the end. Colleen had been waiting to see this artist for a long time….


How…?

… am I inspired? I am working with a catalog, presently, of over 433k images. Can’t find one? Find one? Go looking for something you remembered you took once upon a time? I got a database. Thank goodness!! Do you care? Am I bragging? Impressed?! Computers are so useful!? Or are they the enemy of good? Colleen thinks so. What (does she think)? I have a few followers and many who signed up as followers. I hear from a precious few (occasionally) Ginny, Carol, and my Colleen. My kids? Nope. They forgot long ago. It’s better that way….

Inspiration? Just toss a dart… it triggers memories – Africa, 9/11, Saudi, reunion, sunrise, sunset, Zanzibar, diving, marketplace, black and white… and so much more. It’s like an illustrated memoir (for you). There’s a lot of pictures and a lot of stories. I daresay some pics are better than the stories. But they are mine. It has been an interesting journey through my mind for all these many years. The tip of the iceberg? Oh, the things I could tell you! But what happened in the operating room, stayed there! Would I do it again?

Inspiration? Nowadays, it’s Colleen. Everyone has a muse? Right? I’m left-handed. … on the other hand, there are five fingers. She’s left-handed too! Right? Amazing!


What a year!

New babies change everything! I hope the promise of the future holds forever. One more birthday today. This memory I remember. The day you were born, it was early morning. Ha ha! Night call! You were so tiny and beautiful. Hmmm… it was about the same time of day that Quinn was born.

Humor? Sleepless nights produce strange ideas. Staged? It was effort to make them glasses. Poor child! It is the price she pays for keeping her parents up at night. Do not fret, her revenge will come in due time. Meanwhile, it is your birthday and I wish you one more happiest day! Ever!


So much to say

Today: a series of non sequiturs. Colleen gets me to do things I would never and have never done before. Defrost a freezer? That is one Hell of a large ice cube! Jen looks so young (forget the focus). How do you image cataracts? What do you do while you await the bulk trash pick up for your discarded toilet? Bad pizza? We went with the granddaughters. It was in vivid retrospect how awful this chain pizza was made and tasted! Jump? Oh yeah! I discovered this loosened people up when you took a group photo. It worked! Hilarious! Lemonade stand? Not a single glass was sold to a passerby. With all the family hoovering about, would you? A ventriloquist and her dummy: he has a cellphone. That’s news! No one in the family has ever called him. No one can have his number. The ventriloquist says he’s in Witness Protection, preempting any objection. We were speechless. Of course! (I’m coarse!) He doesn’t speak. She speaks for him when they are on the phone (hers). There are multiple witnesses who attest… I did eventually defrost that freezer. (I did it again, recently.) This series of non sequiturs represents a rare family summer reunion in which most of the extended family attended. Indeed, it has been and was a rare gathering. Special?! One of a kind, probably never to be repeated. I’m not sentimental, nope, not me. But I wish it could be/were repeated. Precious pics! Which, by the way, she says she cannot see shared pics on her phone (memory full); oh, I guess witness protection went to her head. Or, did I get in her head?! (Ha ha, it’s a bad joke. …. Colleen’s gonna kill me.)


Dessert

We all have relatives. Interesting ones – I will leave out any disparaging adjectives – dingy, etc. Jane loves to eat out. She is on a tight budget so any opportunity to eat out… And she loves dessert. She doesn’t eat the main meal. She simply boxes it and eats it for days at home. But there’s always room for dessert. She orders and then offers it around. I have shamed her into finishing her dessert because she cannot take it home. (Shhhh, she has a small appetite.) Meanwhile, she is predictable. I have never seen her finish a meal in a restaurant. One day we ate out three times – three meals – she never finished what she started. …loves to eat out.


Road trip II

I made a new best friend. Wrong. I became a new best friend. The last time I saw Rory she was not quite aware of me. She could not remember me before our recent visit. Now, I am her best friend. Nice. I am touched and flattered. Because of covid we have not traveled much. It was sure nice to see the kids and get to know them, again.

We always seem to find things in little side trips – rolling pin, cheap gas, hungry relatives… There are always animals to be see and be seen with. I think we agreed it was a successful trip. We saw the relatives, the sights, antique shops, and photo ops.


Not just another day

Great sense of humor, laughs a lot, makes me smile, makes me laugh – I’m so lucky! Birthday wishes will come from many, far and wide, family and friends. I feel so fortunate to be able to hug you close and wish you one more happy day! … and, I try to be irreverent in each and every museum we visit. Need I remind you? We met and were even photographed in the third grade. Imagine that! They had photographs back then – black and white!


We been here…

…before! Déjà vu all over again, as Yogi said. I hate it when my wife is right. She’s always right. Damn! I pride myself on a photographic memory. Ha ha! I guess taking a lot of photos does not count.

As we entered the Airbnb, Colleen exclaimed, “We’ve stayed here before. All they did was move the bed! The layout is the same! They just moved the bed around.”

I was stunned and disagreed. I was wrong. It was the same funky bathroom shower that leaked all over the floor. Sure enough, November 2017, same place, same building. Actually, it was the same building, different apartment. And they added a fence to the front. I believe now that we were in an apartment on a higher floor. … same damn leaky shower. Dammit, I got the pictures that prove it!! Ha ha, different camera.

Driving across the US is an experience. It eventually hit 108 degrees on this day, and 1000 cattle died of exposure and thirst. People out there got different ideas… if you can understand the meaning. The beer is essentially the same, but different. It got better with time.

We crossed the country. We will do it again. There are kids in states across the US – NY, WV, CO, CA, and one NKA.

Casablanca – “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine” – Humphrey Bogart.

… she was right again. !!!