Word and Image

Sunset/sunrise

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It’s (scary) calm on my beach. It’s flat, almost no waves to be seen. Elsewhere it is a disaster. The headline always seems to say “one of the most powerful.” It supplanted the RNC convention in the news. Real news trumps fake news. Eh? The satellite video showed the sunset and lights coming on in Florida. Right about now, I’m thinking Moses and the plagues.

But on Wednesday, Colbert admitted that he hadn’t watched the third night of the Republican National Convention.

“Because right now in America, we’re facing a global pandemic that has killed 180,000 Americans, heavily armed Rambo wannabes are murdering people in our streets, the strongest hurricane in the history of the Gulf Coast is making landfall as I speak,” Colbert said in his monologue. “And the R.N.C.’s message is, ‘Who’s up for four more years?’”

“Now, I know by not watching the R.N.C., I didn’t do my job tonight. I just want to say, I feel great about it. Why should we pay attention to what they’re saying if none of what they’re saying tonight is about what’s happening in America right now? Why should we watch their reality show if it doesn’t reflect our reality? Why subject ourselves to their lies that stick to your soul like hot tar? Lies like ‘Donald Trump cares whether you live or die.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT


Tell the truth

There are millions of people who believe in an alternate reality. Sunrise or sunset? Without context you really cannot tell. Day or night? The NY Times feels compelled to fact check the Republicans. There are many lies. Why? I would let the Republicans pass on the fake (news) NYT. BUT! Then why are the late night hosts having such a field day!? The RNC and their speakers have provided much fodder for ridicule with their lies. There seems to be enough context to tell truth from lies. It’s a new day coming.


Dawn

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I tried to shoot the puffins. … as in photograph them. I made three trips. The first two were duds. I never saw a puffin. The boat to the island could not land. I chummed both times. Up and down, up and down, went the boat. Up came whatever breakfast there was. On this particular trip I was tearing across Maine at around 3:30AM to get to the boat dock. Ok, maybe a bit later. Dawn! This turns out to be the picture of the day! No puffins! I told you, I chummed. Wanna see? No? Well, then this is the sum and substance of that trip. It might not look too swell, but the work I put in to get to this pic is what makes it even more special to me. It’s never so good as when you realize later that the best picture of the day was the first.


Haystack before the storm…

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The best picture I ever took that I wish I had a do over: Random! Totally! This was on a road trip in Europe. Does it matter where? When? … a very long time ago. We had stopped (the car) many many times. The patience of my passenger/wife? was at an end. No stopping. I had a point and shoot (film!) camera in my lap. Auto anything? I just lifted the camera to the driver side window and fired one shot. One! Single! Shot! That’s it. The moment was gone, never to be seen (ever!) again. Am I clear? I missed out on a real moment. I couldn’t stop. Who knew? Well, I got something to show you all. Regrets? I have a few. But then life did turn out with a happy ending somewhere along the line. And I hope to be on the road again. And my beloved spouse will (though not intentionally) pressure me to keep on the move. Next…


Eerie

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Dawn. I’ve posted jet trails before. I’ve shot them a few times. Interesting. People traveling to and fro. From my vantage they are headed east west. We are a flyover zone. People are not staying, just going. It’s eerie. We are on lockdown – corona. It’s a bit scary that the planes are flying and potentially carrying corona with them. But, folks still gotta get around. We haven’t been out of the house in a few days since groceries last week. So far so good. (as of this writing two months ago) It’s also bittersweet. Had we no virus, we would be just about completing a second trip to Scotland now. Alas, plans were rewritten. I wonder how the past shall be. As Dave asked once long ago, “Dad, when is tomorrow?”


Imperfect

Sunset… blurred. Hey! I got this out the car window going 55+mph. It ain’t easy. I could’a asked Colleen…. But no! This was our sunset on leap day. You know… February 29. Special. It was a special sunset with my favorite wife…. present wife? (You knew that.) Ah, no matter what I say from this point, I’m in deep …. I shall remember this day for the musical concert and our unspoken disagreements this day. The concert beginning was worse than watching paint dry. Oh geez! But the second half was grand, kind of like how our disagreement disappeared. Years from now, this sunset will be the signature memory. All the rest will be a memory softened by time. So far, we’ve had a very nice year. (Ask me about the disagreement? … I forgot already.)


Lighting

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Light is everything. It creates the mood and tension in an image. Clouds are the intermediate palette upon which to base your background. Clouds can bring tension. Or they can direct light toward your subject. It is often fleeting to have the right light. Blink and it’s gone. I try to pay attention and take advantage whenever I can.

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Dawn patrol

We were headed up the road to Wilmington. I got to ride. So, the passing scenery was fair game. It’s amazing how good the quality of the images is at high speed in poor light. Any image, at all, is fair. The first glow or the early morning fog are subjects rarely obtained by me. I like to sleep too much to be on the spot. But, serendipity beckoned. Voila!


Different evening

Same sequence. We drove into the sunset. The effect was as spectacular. Pick. There were numerous keepers. It was hard to miss. The only rub was that I was shooting thru the car window as I drove and I had to wait to clear the hills in order to get a clear shot. Not bad. Don’t do this at home kids.


Sunset

Pick. The nice thing about being on the road is that the sunset unfolds in front of you. You then have your pick. Evening glow, more glow, or urban traffic. You pick. I got the full experience.


Another sunset

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Yes, it is among many others I have posted and among many you may have seen. It’s still makes us pause to see one. Someone, critically, once said to me, “You’ve seen one. Isn’t that enough?” Good point. They are all different. And the argument would go on…. My post, my blog, I disagree. I don’t think I shall never stop taking a sunset image no matter how many and where I am.


Looking back

I’m just spinning back the image files to the year 2016. Nightfall, at 35,000 feet. I’m over Long Island headed back to the Middle East. The glow of lights below outlines civilization. There is no blankness in the landscape. I am amazed at the image. It’s not perfect. But, detail is there in the glow of sunset… enough to appreciate the curve of the earth?

Reality? Can you feel the heat of the desert? There are no trees… few. And the crowded streets. It’s barren and foreboding. It was a great adventure. I’m glad to be gone.


Urban sunset

I learned there are no rules from a museum photo judge this past spring. A spectacular sunset was in progress as we exited a store. And, the camera battery was dead. There was no view to see the spectacular orange ball gloriously setting. Ok! Bang! The camera had 4 shots in it till the battery finally quit completely. Otherwise, there would be no image and no post. You got wires thanks to that judge. And I made lemons out of lemonade with the pattern of the sky. I like the sky but can appreciate the wires now.


Sunset – Grand Canyon

How often does that opportunity arise? To demonstrate how mellow I’ve become… we ate a leisurely dinner in El Tovar. It was a superb meal. We finished just as the sunset was in progress. I would have set up with a tripod in an ideal spot if it were years ago. But I have become more of a photo opportunist. If the situation presents, otherwise I am content to let life happen. So, I got color. My sunset was not a sweeping vista. We had an excellent meal overlooking the canyon. Dinner with Colleen was priceless.


Randomly bad

Since I was inspired by the lecture at the Biggs Museum on photographic judging, I have sought/run into situations that are not ideal. No matter. Just shoot. Don’t mind wires, houses, or any other extraneous distracting elements. At least you have something. It won’t be in any major photo exhibition. But I have that decidedly ‘funky’ look that maybe more fun than I had otherwise considered. That art critic taught me that anything goes and what he likes should not have any influence upon what I might like.


A day late…

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… and a dollar short. January 1, 2019. First picture of the new year. 411,612 – 2003 to 2018. That would be the number of digital images to date that I have taken – give or take. I’m missing some iPhone pics to count. That’s a huge number. I’m impressed. To look through the archive would be daunting. I do look occasionally. In my alternate reality I realize that I have forgotten so many images. They remain as an historical archive of events and experiences in my life.

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I’m alive and kicking. That’s a plus. I didn’t realize there are friends and relatives who follow my blog silently noting the passage of images and rants. I don’t really rant. Impassioned. I suppose I could do better. In the majority I am photographing the world around me. I feel fortunate to see the sunrise. I am frustrated because now that I can sleep all I want, I awaken far too often to see the sunrise. On the plus side I get some great images early in the morning. I guess I should have made it a point to take a first pic of the year and commemorate the moment years ago. It’s never too late…


Cloudy

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These eastern clouds were being lit by setting sun in the west. It had been storming earlier in the day. I shot out the car window as we traveled down the highway south. South is always down, right? We’d been using a map that day. My companion folds hers. It doesn’t help. Two GPS devices, two iPhones, one map later and we still have a frantic scramble at the next turn. Kidding!

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There is something to be said for cropping. I never considered panoramas until Dave showed me his iPhone shots. Easy!…on an iPhone. Pretty easy in Lightroom too. You have to have a good substrate with which to work. Then, it’s effective. Right image – right tool. Nice trick.


On the fly

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Do as I say, not as I do…. And, you (my kids) can do this in a moving car,  driving, and holding and iPhone. Many of the images I get are done on the go. I don’t stop. Ha! Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t stop. I’m go. So this is another moonrise over the highway. We were headed east in Maryland. I shot a couple images as we drove along. This one made the cut. Snapshot. I know. I could have maybe had something if I’d stopped and set up. I don’t travel with a tripod. I wouldn’t even know what to do if I had all the time I wanted to get a proper image. Shoot and go. Me.


Traffic

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There is a side benefit to sitting in NYC traffic during the evening rush hour. I was not familiar with Williamsburg. So we had to go the hard way. GPS is nice. It will get you there. But to be a native, is to know the short cuts and avoid the sitting. We sat. But it was sunset and the benefit was that we had ample opportunity to photograph New York as I had never been allowed. Yes, we shot through and out the window. We got what we got. The new Kosciuszko Bridge, the skyline, the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower – all of this was afforded to us.

There was a big ginormous cemetery in Queens that one rarely glimpses over the high fence. I got it with the ESB in the background. Neat!

We still sat for a good long while. But there was something to do too. Stuck in traffic? There’s a benefit. You can see the city from a vantage you will not otherwise be allowed. There are views and then there are views. …silver lining.


Sunrise

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It seems I am up too much and way too early. I have dreams. These days they wake me. Early morning color lasts but moments. In the time, it takes for me to grab my camera the light has already changed. Nonetheless it’s dramatic. I’ve missed a lot of sunrises in my life. Most days I don’t get morning glow like this. But when you see something this mesmerizing, It’s impossible not to take a shot. Priceless!


One A Day

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Not vitamins…

I try to take a picture every day. Yes, with a real camera. I pretty much follow my life this way. Lately, it’s rare for me not to pull out my camera wherever we are. Ah! Restaurants! Yup, I take pics of restaurants and the food. Goofy? Probably. Then again, I miss plenty too. I also get ribbed about taking pictures that my friends never see. (They don’t follow blogs, I guess)

We get really great sunrise sunset pictures in Delaware. The clouds change constantly. It’s spectacular most times when there are clouds in the sky. This morning is a case in point. Spectacular. One more? I can’t help myself. Yup, I took a few. Timing is everything. The peak sunrise color only lasts moments. Yes, you have to be up at that hour. Earlier in my life that would never be. I liked to sleep late into daylight. Not now. Hmmm, I don’t have a guilty conscience. Do I?


Nature’s Spectacular

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For fireworks, I’d guess you can’t beat the sun. My old partner used to say the sunset over Bayonne, NJ was spectacular because of the air pollution. Maybe? The California wildfires were burning furiously to the north and south of Los Angeles. We could see the smoke 65 miles away in Ventura. Maybe? Maybe it was pollution, or maybe just luck? Nature put on a spectacular display.

I get a lot of sunset shots. …because I look. After that it’s the camera that does the trick. Of course, you’ve got to know how to hold your camera. Ha! There are a few things to knowing the right exposure. There’s nothing that Photoshop can make better if you didn’t get a good image to start. I’ve learned a lot about photography. Scenes and images come around again. It’s a matter of knowing what to do. I got hundreds of sunset images. Do I need to stop to take one more? Hmmm? Each time the light is a little different, the clouds unique, the location? It’s kind of like love; I do it ’cause I am.

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Hang ’round awhile. What’s the rush? Unfortunately, I shoot a lot of sunset pics from a moving car. Hey! I shot some/something. Did you? But if you hang ’round after the sun goes down, there is an afterglow that follows. That is pretty spectacular and worth shooting too.


Sunset

I told you I’m not a morning person. Funny! Since I quit working I’m frequently up before dawn. While I worked I was fortunate to time the start of my day well after sunrise. Somedays I would head in for ‘rounds’ near to noon. Yeah! Decadent! It almost seemed unfair. I felt guiltily like I wasn’t really working. I was lucky to have a flexible job that I enjoyed. Of course, there were plenty of nights I got home well after dark or not at all. Sunset, sunrise? Close your eyes, open your mind, it could be either or both. Mostly I’m active in the evening. In the morning I see the dawn but am less enthusiastic about catching the ‘rays.’


You pick?

Getting a spectacular sunset is like getting a fish image in the Red Sea. It’s pretty hard to not have an opportunity. Meanwhile I am woodworking. I can make basket stands. I need a new trick. These will go to another home. I won’t make more. No more baskets to be had at the store. And I’m not taking up basket making…. Pick? Two non-sequitur images. It’s a twofer. I’m just lazy today.

Hint:

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