Word and Image

Photography

Almost

From the time of my childhood I wanted to see Blackwater Falls. There was a winter photo with ice framed by a sunny day as the water cascaded. The picture never left my memory.

Who knew I would return from Saudi to finally see the falls in winter. Ha ha. From desert to this. But it would be disappointing in some aspects. We were not there on that magical day my memory recalled. There was ice to be sure. There was much to be needed to make the perfect picture. And in other ways it was a perfect picture. I had never dreamed I would be there with Colleen. She was not in that original memory. Somehow I think this real memory is so much better.

Right after I retired from Saudi and returned to the US, Colleen had me on extensive road trips to visit family. Her family extended across WV, CO, and OH. Do the math. It’s a lot of driving. But she did divert me through Blackwater Falls to see that mythical falls of my childhood memory. It was my first time. And, to return in winter with ice falling….

On so many levels this is a memory of almost. Almost good to almost perfect. I’ll take it!!


Slow day

I gotta say that post vacation there is a lull in photographic activity. Then again, we were also stricken with colds. So, not much happened. I shot clouds out my window. And I shot passing foliage in a couple of cemeteries. It was still 80 degrees here in early November. Take heart. You can shoot decent photographs even as you drive by in a speeding car. Not every sunrise is spectacular but it is pretty easy when you only need lift your camera from your desk.


Wait

If you wait long enough, what was old becomes new again. Back in 2017 there was an eclipse. Photograph it. That was the challenge. I got a sun filter from the camera store. After that it was a piece of cake. Ha ha! But we got it. Everyone went down to the beach and sat looking at the sun as the eclipse came and went. Brilliantly, I kept a copy of the composite in my catalog. It was sure nice to see it again. Hey, it was a shared experience. And, I got talent. Just a little…


You can’t go back

Once upon a time… We had a magical time. It was near this time of year. How long? Dunno.

Dave came to Saudi. He learned to dive. Jules joined us. They experienced the Red Sea. It has been largely forbidden to tourists. I got them in under my work visa as family. They did a night dive. It was special. The fan coral is gone now. It was destroyed by inconsiderate divers. It is always special to see a turtle in open water.

Yes, it happened once. You can’t go back. Wistful? You bet. I’d have loved to get Colleen into the water, dived, and held her hand as we saw the wonders.


Going back

Sometimes you go back. Things don’t/didn’t change much. The lamppost of buoys is still there. The lighthouse has not gone away. I am still with the one I love. No, they did not open the Olsen House. The museum is open. The house is not? Go figure. Only a handful of folks visit the Olsen House. Plenty of folks wander the museum in Rockland without a mask in sight…. Going back. It’s never quite the same.


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?


About time

It’s about time for the annual family shot – Colleen, me, and the seven cats. They march up onto the table and I shoot with the remote control and tripod. Simple. Easy.

This year the pandemic is over. Is it? To all intents and purposes it is hard to find many masks and precautions. We are not taking risks. But pretty much wherever we go there are few admonitions or masks. People are still hospitalized and dying. Our social exposure is slowly ramping up. For the first time in several years we will have a family gathering at Thanksgiving. Good luck to all.


With or without

I tinker. Don’t you? Picture? With or without moon? Person? (Colleen). Counterpoint?

I dunno. It ain’t a perfect world. Sometimes my subjects cooperate and can be moved about. Sometimes it’s just not that simple. And I suppose it is also a matter of preference. You can go both ways. Sure. But at some point you must choose. Or not.


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.


O Henry

It’s like an O Henry story – everyone is trying to do the right thing and we all miss by, that much. Alternately – no good deed shall go unpunished. Or, vacation – a game the whole family can play.

We tried to visit Jules and the kids before she started work once more after maternity leave. How many times have I had sick kids during important events? Christmas flu anyone?

No surprise. The little girls were both sick. And Jules…and us. You name it, they got it and had it. And, they shared! The coup de grace was getting shoes and socks soaked when a rogue wave overtook us on the beach! Yeah, well, nothing so dramatic?!

We all stumbled over ourselves trying to be good to one another. Jules wanted to entertain us. She wanted to take us to see things. She wanted me to cook with Noa. Etc etc… I was not at all demanding and wanted everyone to get well. We just never seemed to mesh. Plenty of smiles but there was a lot of illness. Funny. The kids never did look too ill. Neither were we.

Colleen and I spent the second night home alternately coughing and trying not to wake one another. The girls are mending. Jules missed her first day to return to school. And, it was all on Halloween. Boo!


Composed

We have returned from extended trips – Maine and California. What do you shoot – when you get back? Cats! Of course! It was a welcome reunion with hugs all around. Who missed who – more? One of the favorite activities – eating grass and leaves on the deck. Ok! I hope everyone is happy. We are happy to be home.


Easy?!

You think it’s easy?! Jules casually dropped a request for a family picture. Sure! She already had it planned out. She picked a spot under the pier. Ok! Backlighting. I should have used a flash. Nope. And then, to pose the kids. Nope, they weren’t having any. No way were two squirmy kids gonna look at my lens. There were too many distractions. Nope! No way! Great! I took nearly a hundred…. No dice. No cigar. No luck. Aha! Photoshop! Damn, I hate to resort to technology. But! For my trouble, we all got our feet wet. Jules and Jeff were barefoot. It was travel day. I was wearing sock on the plane so as not to stand barefoot in TSA. Yup! Soaked. Shoes and socks. Yes, it’s lovely to ride the plane coast to coast in wet shoes and socks.

We got a shot – several – some passable. I did not nail the image I sought. Everyone went away happy!


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.


Junk mail

Upon our return from a recent trip there was a pile – an impressive pile – of junk mail that awaited. You know? The kind that implores donation or urgent action to save whatever endangered species is the flavor of the moment. Buy insurance and other products for which I have no interest. Not from one but from multiple organizations and companies. No return address, sender unknown, hoping curiosity will get you to open the envelope. It is a colossal waste of paper and time.

My point? I liken junk mail to the photos we take that have extraneous distractions. Road signs, telephone wires, you know the drill. It seems there is always something in the way of my perfect shot. Of course, it helps if you are not shooting pictures in a speeding car. But, nonetheless, junk creeps into my images. I will not give up. I strive for perfection knowing that there is always a surprise waiting when I can say, “I shot that??!”


Not so hard

Find a picture when you need it. I have nearly 500k images in my current catalog. It is akin to a needle in a haystack. I have never tried that either.

I hit a random shot of dinner with Jane. Cheers! We do not have a large family. And we do. There are a lot of moving parts. I do manage to get groupings. And there is always someone missing. Meanwhile, it was an interesting past year wherein people got together in unexpected groupings. I am happy to say it was a good year.


Kondo marie…

Backwards. Opposite. … we are not… neat and organized.

We do pack our days. Upon our return from our recent trip to Maine it took about an hour to unload the car. Slow?! We had a lot of stuff crammed in all the nooks and crannies. How about a linear foot of books beneath the front seats. Exaggerate. No, I was merely cautions. There was a lot of glassware or pottery too.

Waiting were my seven cats. It took Feather a day to forgive my absence. Wating too, were a slew of Amazon fairy packages. Neat! Colleen would spy a book she had to have. I would find it discounted… or that tea pot. We need another like a … and I found it on Amazon and had it shipped. Ha! More room in the car. Thank goodness we do not have a van.

We managed a visit to the beach. The erosion from the recent hurricane had pretty much decimated the beach. I started to spin. There’s a lot of fiber processing to come this winter. And Feather made it to the vet.

Neat comes later. Organized? Colleen got a new pocket book and transferred the contents from her old one. We never did find the old one among our bags. Hmmmm? And a bread box? Yeah!? I did not know we needed one. Books? Every other available space … used and second hand. It seemed every library in Maine had a sale going. You borrow, right? Nope, you can buy gently used….

It’s all very topsy turvy confusing but there is organization to our happy chaos. Umm… and another spinning wheel… like the proverbial hole in the head. Ah! Ha! It folds compactly to travel in the car! Yup, it would be great if we had any room in the car. Did I remember to mention the large bags of sheep fleece?


Sunrise/Sunset

It is a matter of your point of view. In this case, my sunset preceded my sunrise. A mere technicality. We were staying so close to Colleen’s favorite lighthouse of all lighthouses. No, she did not get up for the chill dawn show. It was 32 degrees. Nope, a warm cozy bed was preferable. At sunset, no glow, clouds, she blessed her handmade Abanaki Indian meditation basket in the waters of the lighthouse. We were blessed with angel light. At dawn I was blessed with moonlight thru the clouds as well as a memorable morning glow.

There are days and there are days. We have had some wonderful days shared in harmonious peace.


Eat out

We worked hard for this one. We could not get here until near the end of our recent travels. Colleen casually mentioned Cullen skink. It is a Scottish dish from smoked haddock. I found a place! It was not to far out of the way of our travels in Maine. Dover, NH. A soccer/football fan had a Scottish pub that served the specialty – cup or bowl! And mushy peas! Ahem, I am no fan of either offering but I made do with other things that are bad for you…. So, a good time was had by all. Once again I was able to bring joy and tranquility to our happy marriage.


CMCA – Discovery!

Center Maine Contemporary Art. Over at the Farnsworth a block away I saw the outdoor sculpture and inquired. “Nothing, just some gallery…” dismissively intoned the lady.

Oh! Damn! This was about as much fun as you have with your clothes on! I mean – a real discovery!

“Cheeky!” as the British might put it. Some things defy expectation. This was simply fun – then moving. The underground railroad, the slave trade were nothing to be amused about and the symbolism struck Colleen deeply.

The boat? Feathered. Sailing. Below were copper coin to represent the slave trade tearing people from native Africa. Moving!

A room of squirrels, trash hung from fishing line. I pondered how to tie the trash so accurately to the line in a geometric pattern….

Staid? The Farnsworth certainly has the “art.” Who knows? It takes all types of people… I was restrained by Colleen from collaring each person leaving the Farnsworth to tell them about this “Find!” merely a block away in plain sight.


Fog of War

There was no outright Republican victory. No sweep. No decisive win. Nada! None!

Up yours, Trump! (Ahem, your ass is grass – and I’m gonna mow it.)

I would like to say I told you so.

All politics is local. – Tip O’Neill

The nightmare Colleen envisioned did not materialize. Since more than half of us did not vote for asshole (trump) in 2020… it stands to reason 2022 elections would not be so different despite the dirty tricks and cheating by the republicans.

It was a gathering of cousins at the poll. And no, they would not stand in front of the trump flag, even as a joke! We all voted. That’s what counts at the end of the day.

Yes, there were assholes present, too. You just can’t teach stupid. It seems a natural talent.


Roadside

Along the road there are always interesting scenes. I was stopped at the traffic light and saw three wise (?) men peering into a survey scope?! What?! Dunno.

We saw MAGA madness?! Really?! You want the world to know you are stupid?!! Fact: Biden is president. I’m just sayin’….

Lee has a 22 yo VW bug. Here was a collection of old VW buses and one bug. Yeah, her car can have a nice home to retire. Nope, she declined.

As I said before, we stop for libraries. Some are pretty nice. Cool!

You can’t make this stuff up.


Second chance

A lot about me is second chances. … a lot about us. Would you do it differently if given a second chance?

Colleen admired a painting and we sought a print. Nope! Nada! I’m not sure if a print was ever made?! A card, a tile, a puzzle, yup, all were for sale in the gift shop. A quest, an internet search, no avail.

Meanwhile we continue to have fun in the museum among the arts. Will I ever forgive my sister in law’s comment about our couth in appreciating museums? Ummm… I think not. I remain pleased with our creative inspiration among the paintings. Come to think of it… there is only one sister in law… oops, outed. Ok, ok, there are two. But (shhhh), we know of whom we speak.


Another dawn…

Ho hum. Yawn. Another dawn. And sunset. And some gulls.

I got skill…. Every morning here where we are encamped in Maine, I raise the shade to see the weather and the sunrise. Surprise! Spectacular! Wow!. What a gift! The morning glow lasted for a while. Gulls on the roof. A bonus. To cap the day – bookends if you will, I got sunset. Yeah, yeah, there’s a telephone pole… it was a nice coda to the day. (Sunset? It was the one with the telephone pole. Same color, end of the day.)


Did you know?

I once lived in a six story building with a central courtyard that had ivy growing six stories high. It was gorgeous when the seasons changed. The building co-op board tore it down. The ivy was hurting the brick pointing. Tragedy! – on many levels (pun?).

This ivy wall in autumn recalls a past time and memory for me.

Meanwhile, Colleen was talking to everyone. She does. She learns lots – useful and useless information. In this case the Presidential yacht was in Belfast harbor.  Not that Belfast (Ireland) but that President (of the United States). Carter sold it. Gas crisis. An American president should not own a Presidential yacht. So, here it is, privately owned and undergoing renovation. A wooden boat! Nice but nothing to see. The chairs are repurposed and made from old lobster traps.