Word and Image

Photography

A revelation

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Did you know… spiders will share a single web? … will repair, do repair a damaged web? When I say spiders… I saw the big one, Momma? – and then not one but two little ones. Two. ?? They (the little ones) were both out at the same time. OK! TMI! But it does account for the less than precise appearance of the web. Big Momma has only been seen at night since the little ones appeared. Mostly, there is no one patrolling the silk. Another web in the adjacent window pane has had no sign of any spider. Shy? Gee! The things you learn when first you ….

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808)

Drama at the website: it’s gruesome, encased and mummified in silk. It is a soon to be dead bug. Yes, it is still moving. Big momma is out tending to the silk. Maintenance, someone’s gotta do it.

Men in Black, the movie? I’ve seen this guy out running before. He wears a lighted safety vest. Yup! He looks alien! And just as I was getting my shot of “Big Momma,” he went by. Sorry, I coulda done better, but, he went by so fast!


I love my wife

As I was falling asleep, Colleen said, “I’m not sure you like me anymore.” It’s natural to have worries during a marriage. Nope! I love you!! … to pieces… to the moon and back! Second chances are few. There is a lot I would do differently if I could go back… well, it would have certainly been a different life for the two of us. Maybe all is not blissful all of the time, but, right now in this moment, it is about as close to heaven as you can get on earth. Today is not about great photography (it’s my blog!); it is about memories we have collected in a short time together in places like… Maine and the Butt of Lewis. We met when we were young and reconnected when we were old. Time is short, so, we celebrate anniversaries every month instead of years. Lately, we have sort of let this get slightly forgotten. But today is a “day.” Happy av-en-ursery, my dear.

Well then what’s to be the reason for becoming man and wife? is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life? And if loving is the answer, then who’s the giving for? …

Wedding Song – Peter, Paul, and Mary


Hey?!!

Right after I lamented yesterday, it seems that I have a hole in my posts. Today was open. Nada. Nothing. …. good thing I checked. Travel! We made it to Maine. They canceled the Common Ground Fair and Pumpknfest amid concern for Covid. Boo! So, make lemonade. We are: Outdoor dining. Bakery for breakfast. Touring. Getting lost. Lost earring. Old Revolutionary war era home. There’s a lot you can do. Masks and not. I worked the duck scene. I did not quite get it right. But, there it is. Too much potential, not enough patience, wrong lens? How lovely! … on the road again. Lost earring? We bought a pair and (Colleen) lost one constantly donning a mask. Returning to the store, we found out they could track the artist and get a replacement or another crafted. That is a happy ending!


Travelogue

Why do we travel? To get away from our own everyday routine. See something new and different. And while we are gone we seek out familiar things from home. Dinner in a Chinese restaurant… in Scotland: the food looks familiar; the dinners eat with fork and spoon, or knife; the grocery carries mustard, mayo, and Spam!; a picture to match the post card. Yes, you can go to dinner wearing a genuine Harris tweed vest. Travel is about same and, not. We have not been able to travel in a couple years – Covid. The world will be upside down a bit longer. A couple years back right at this time we were here!? It seems so long ago. So much has changed. Don’t worry, my dear, we will be back.


I wish

Live life? Or, record it? Dave has an iPhone. He does not travel with a camera, not even a point and shoot. He takes fantastic pictures with his phone. It records the memories of his myriad travels. I, record everything from the mundane to the weird. There is some sublime? Mostly, I photograph what is around me. Memory fades, images remain a bright and firm reminder of what I passed. Two points of view. I wish Dave appreciated my point and recorded his travels more. In contrast, he has lived a lifetime of experiences in recent years that few have achieved. Go for it, live life to its fullest. Savor without stopping to make a record every ten feet.

Lighthouse? What lighthouse? Which? Dave embarked on cross country bike trip with a “just bought” used bike, without a plan. Me, I shoot oddities: spider webs, the moon in the clouds at night, sunset where I find it, and graphic patterns of everyday life. Memory, blogs, travel, it’s all downstream. Does it fade?

When this post publishes, Colleen and I will be on our first extended travel since Covid. And, yes, I will be recording the memories of our trip.


Lucky

I’m lucky… lucky to have images that jog my memory. Pelicans? Dave was here (at the beach), with sunflowers? Jumping, I’ve been asking people to jump as an icebreaker. Philippe Halsman – look him up – was a master photographer of the “jump shot.” It always makes me smile. Photo-bombing? It’s a new term. Emma! Rory has the weight of the world on her mind. So young, you ain’t seen nutin’ yet! The summer flowers are fading. I spun the catalog to a random page. It was quite a day(back then)!


Fall

I don’t keep pictures on my phone. Well, a few. Ask me for a “fall’ shot? I would look in my Lightroom catalog. And, there? Well, let’s say that it’s been a while since I scouted fall foliage. There is that moment in time when the leaves are in full color just before they wither and fall…. Color! Everyone wants that brilliant mesmerizing color! “Fall,” I’ve seen a few. I hope to see a few more. That would be sweet too. It’s the first day of fall. Bittersweet, the days are getting shorter.


Re-hash

Brain surgery is serious stuff. Before and after do not require rapt attention. So, I do/did not waste energy worrying. Sure, I think, ponder, and plan, especially for “what if” (operating room) scenarios. My life outside the operating room was less than serious. These days, now that I retired, are mostly about fun. Today, I just looked back on previous pictures posted. If you are like me, they are just about familiar, and, not quite. If I had not told you… enjoy! Somewhere in my life, I must have done something good.


Do you believe this

This is hilarious: Colleen posing over my head in a selfie. We bike ride a trail that gives us spectacular views. Remember? The trail, yes; the selfie, no! Nope. I do not remember taking this picture. Sure. It’s in the photo archive. Wow! The picture is right beside a house Colleen want to buy somewhere up in Milford. I passed – too much work to restore an old house. But, boy was it a beauty with lots of potential. Pie? Yes, those pics were right nearby in my catalog too. I can say for sure I made the sour cream apple walnut pie. Colleen and I had been chasing that recipe forever, in order to faithfully recreate it. Ok! I/she/we made a pumpkin pie too. But! The kiwi pie? Nope. No recollection. It’s right there next to the other pies. There is no sign this pie was store bought. So, Colleen made it! That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.


Old joke

By now I can be accused of pushing an old joke… too far. Museums. Irreverence. Heinous. Not quite. You would not call (my composite) art too? I’ve been at it for a while. Don’t ask me to collect the past examples. Fun? You bet. The essential element? A tolerant wife. It’s collaboration. After all Colleen took all those pics of me. Ok! That said, we found a typo in one of the exhibits: 2923, wrong date. We are still masking up. That’s a mirror – reflection, not doorway.

Droopy spider web? It seems in the morning mist/fog with the water droplets upon it, a spider web will droop. Who knew? There was a big old hairy ugly spider who had this web. Along came an albino juvenile. It just happened to wander into my picture. As you can see the web is not so architecturally symmetrically accurate. Should we be disappointed? Or, all spiders are not OCD.

As long as we are talking mist and water, can you appreciate the small droplets and detail at the end of this hibiscus flower? Macro photography opened up a new world for me this summer.

Too many images, too little time/space to post.


Counting the cars…

As long as we are on Simon and Garfunkel… counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike…. Colleen took this shot. Great shot! She was shooting to include the green arrows. ??? I don’t know. She got a quintessential shot of traffic in America! I’ve been there! And, on our return trip the GPS gods took us on a (lost) detour past St Vlad’s church on the hill. Sometimes random wandering is good! Note: you are never lost if you never put the car in reverse.

Meanwhile, back at home, the flowers … they are fewer as summer fades. It is time for the rose of Sharon to bloom. I have one this year. It is my harbinger to fall.

The Summer Knows – Barbra Streisand

… And if you’ve learned your lesson well
There’s little more for her to tell
One last caress
It’s time to dress
For fall


Old friends

Old Friends – Simon and Garfunkel

Old friends, old friends
Sat on their park bench like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
Of the high shoes of the old friends

Ginny is the glue. The rest of us would not try too hard to keep in touch. Bless her, it was surprisingly nostalgic. We spoke of everything: old friends and enemies, wars we fought in the operating room, and all manner of stuff that would either curl your hair or turn it grey. I have accumulated plenty of enemies in my career. It was nice to meet up with some old friends. Thank you, Ginny. We all changed. Yup, a few pounds and a few gray hairs. And most of you don’t remember Simon and Garfunkel. This is not fine photography. Its meaning lies with the people in the shots and what history it conjures. Sometimes a picture is more to anchor a memory of what once was.


Quality

When I shoot hundreds of images a day, it’s often not about quality as much as quantity. Why so many? … to be sure I did not miss the one that got away. Make sense? Not to me either. I just shoot. I experiment. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. I know there can be a world of from difference one shot to the next. Subtle sometimes, but, always it is a surprise how one can almost miss the moment. Clouds in the sky… never repeat. I will also admit that shooting the rain on a spider web is a whole lot easier with a macro lens. Ok! And with a straight face, I challenge you to figure out how I flattened a peach and kept the juice in?


Color

Define white. You would naturally describe it in terms of what we identify as white. A white wall, white paper, white box, white flower. All different? Oh, so shades – light white, bright white, gray white, yellowish white… Ha! It’s not so easy. Avocado pits/skins and cherry pits will dye fiber pink. Each skein comes out subtly different from the next. But they are all pink in total. Subtle, barely distinguishable from one another, it’s the same for flowers. Time of day, sun or shade, will all change the color I capture in my camera. The color and the details and the focus are even subtly different from one image to the next. My image is captured in a fraction of a second. The moment passes and the scene has changed. What’s white?


Oops…

The modern expression, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”, was first published in Henry G. Bohn’s A Hand-book of Proverbs in 1855. It appeared in a newspaper in 1831. (How do they know this stuff?)

I do not recall why we were in the “city.” We met Dave for lunch. Afterward we wandered the Highline. The stairway to nowhere was under construction then. Yes, I take food pictures. And even so, I cannot tell what it was we ate. Have I told you Colleen loves to eat out? More seriously, this stairway has been a place for people to commit suicide. ??? I don’t know either. We always referred to the 6th floor as LD50:

LD stands for “Lethal Dose“. LD50 is the amount of a material, given all at once, which causes the death of 50% (one half) of a group of test animals.

Most people will not survive a fall more than 6 stories. With all the bones you break, I’m not sure you would want to – survive. Of course, on this nice pleasant day – lunch with Dave, and, a pleasant stroll – who would have thunk this would be a death trap, closed at the moment (now), while engineers try to build in some more safety measures?


Present – on that day

World Trade Center 2000, the millennium, we (Lisa and I) visited the Battery and went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We saw the names of our forebears who came to this country as immigrants.

2001, a crystal clear blue sky autumn day, 9/11 stands out so clearly. This is the view (my pictures) from my kitchen window. Yeah, I was close, not quite there, but close. The images are searing. When the first tower fell I was on the phone with Vicki. She told me, what my own eyes could not believe. The first tower had collapsed. From this perspective the towers appear next to each other and I thought the flames had jumped across from one building to the other. I could not fathom another plane hitting the other tower. I was fully confident in NYFD to put out a fire. I had seen them do it with my own eyes before. The towers were shrouded in smoke and steam from the dousing water and would reappear when the smoke clears. i waited in vain all day. The smoke never cleared and the buildings were gone – forever.

Twenty years later, I still have a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach thinking of the profound loss. Another generation has grown up to see the pictures, and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We extracted a pound political pound of flesh for the heinous damage. Bin Laden died. Little has changed. The world is not a better place. It is not safer. Extremism, especially in politics is worse. We are less united. And, we are still dumb. The recent drone attack in retaliation for suicide bombing at the Afghan airport appears to have hit bogus terrorists. Pound the shit out of something to make us feel strong! History repeats. Will we ever learn? Lie to me, baby – again. I take no pride in saying I was “there.”


oh say can you see

Déjà vu. I try to remember 9/11. Here we are. It’s a round circle. (is there any other kind?) From NYC and WTC to Afghan and back. We got our butts kicked once more. With gusto. History repeats. In the end, we!! gave arms to the Taliban. They will cherish them and “buy” our ammo. Was that the plan? Meanwhile, we donated, no gave away, a trillions dollars (with a “T”)! I guess you cannot make the same mistake twice? Afghan’s chief export is poppies.


Odd day

I was housebound and determined to have an adventure. So? Antiques! Nope. Everything is closed around here on Monday. The (poor pitiful) mangy cat awaited in front of one antique place (closed). A VIP funeral went by with a fancy glass hearst and a long parade of trailing vehicles. So famous… we could not find mention in any internet listing. Travel took us to the towns of Milford and Wyoming. Oh yeah! There’s a giant bee, much larger than the usual. It does not look like a carpenter bee. The other large bee listed is from Indonesia, nope, not that one either. ?? Dunno. My passion flower survived Barb! And Nutley? … just too cute for his own good! Gee, he makes me look like a good photographer.


One that got away

I hate bugs. It doesn’t stop me from photographing them. The clouds do not form up every day for pictures just for me. It is nice when they do. And, sometimes I close my eyes. Or, I just press the shutter and hope for the best. Yeah, scientific. There are days when you press that camera shutter and you have no idea what will come in the edits. Yes, I’m laughing too. I will never admit it. Skill! But, I’m thinking horseshoes. Close! It’s enough. Oh! The green bug(?); he got away from the spider. Close call!


Way back

Quintessential Maine, Somesville bridge. It’s not my best effort, but this was a long time ago and before I knew better. The first balloon festival (for me) had the searing memory of Lisa dipping her poison ivy covered arms in a bucket of ice at a soda vendor; no, not pictured here. How about a field of wildflowers they planted just for my camera? My dog Nellie, I loved that dog! One more summer image, fishing, the water was about 18 inches deep. But, you get the idea. Idyllic, childhood. It was a different time. Good. Better, that’s harder to say.


Dog days

90/90 – temp/humidity. Enough said. We got corn! I guess some of the bird seed germinated. Yup! A single corn stalk grows in the midst of one of the containers. Ha ha! Veggies? This is the garden harvest. It’s going to sauce. We are unable to keep up with the cherry tomato crop. The peppers? Four months of diligent watering and all I got were a handful. I have to rethink what I am planting. The flowers are fading. Bugs are all around. I like detail. It’s time to prepare for fall.


What do you collect

Jen had house guests who wanted to go to antique stores. But, of course, we would join them. For many reasons we did not come to this hobby until late in life. Cost was a big hurdle. Trolling for a bargain is a must. Otherwise, well, you know what happens when you squander a fortune on a bauble. One guest was in quest of duck decoys. Sigh. Everyone to their taste. Me? I shoot typewriters. I’m content. We don’t need one. Bed pans and urinals? Ummm. No thanks. A tiered Christmas pyramid ornament? We have one. Enough. Fun? Priceless! Duck decoy? $25, maybe. $275, (nope!!) ha ha! That would take away from the quest to find a hidden bargain.


Water

It is part of my life. We live near it. I have always lived near to water. Even in the Middle East, the Red Sea was moments away from me. I have a water view and the beach is less than a mile from home. Water can be subtle or bold in my images. It always adds interest. Underwater (diving), yes, but I tend to avoid the pouring rain. I’m so lucky, yes, so lucky.


Just missed

Fortunate? The remnants of Hurricane Ida came up from Louisiana to batter New York. I kid with Colleen all of the time that the weatherman is right about half the time. I paid no heed to the warning. Sorry. We drove up north for dinner and I was surprised to see the beach town nearly empty of the usual summer crowd strolling the streets. Hmmm? We stopped and had dinner. Afterward I took a few shots of a local landmark sign. The night shots showed ominous skies. Just as we drove into our garage, rain fell. It was nothing of particular note. Wow! New York got slammed! It was all in the news. It was not quite a disaster because everyone had missed predicting it; they had not seen it coming despite the weatherman. But, yes, it was an epic storm and a true disaster. Welcome to climate change. If you deny it, you probably did not get the vaccination either. Meanwhile, all I got was more clouds in the aftermath. We were totally spared; on the morning after – blue skies. Some days we are/were just plain lucky. It’s only now a few days later that I appreciate how fortunate we were. For unsuspecting folks around New York, lives were lost and changed forever.