Word and Image

Sunset/sunrise

Better

We had an interesting night. It was dusk into night. We were traveling home. The moon rose thru the clouds. The clouds were the same color as the sky. There were no clouds? I have never seen this. It was neat. We never did stop the car. I shot thru the windshield while paused at traffic lights. Nuts! We got to the beach. Colleen calls it moon path. I got it. It was not so easy. The night was dark. Of course. The settings were hard to adjust. I used manual to choose. Oh drat! I got the better shots on auto. Hey! It was an interesting night.


Dawn

It’s magic. I got a camera that knows to compensate for low light. I just have to compose the image and press the shutter. Ok, there is more to it than that. But for the sake of this post I need only discuss the critical moment. The camera does the heavy lifting for me.

The critical moment? It seems that patience is the most important issue. Start early and go until you are past prime. I am after color. The blaze of orange just before the sun rises above the horizon… Unfortunately, dawn comes at an early hour. I am fond of sleeping. But, old age has a way of getting me into bed early and rising before dawn. It works!


Timing

Speaking of…. We have a beach cam. I monitor it from my Mac from home. Too lazy to go to the beach for sunrise? Not every day is guaranteed a great sunrise. I am lazy. The moment of truth? Things start off slow and always go forward. So timing is the key. You miss the moment and you cannot go backward. This particular morning I started early. Sunrise is always different – in so many ways. Folks gather to watch. There is always someone down on the sand. The glow builds until the sun crests the horizon. Voila. Another sunrise. Another day. Good morning!


This one

Ya gotta love Jane. You are only as good as your filing system? Jane asked, “ You took this picture in Dec 2017. I want an enlargement framed.” Well, you know that specificity resulted in a series of queries about which picture and the fact that I take a lot (of pictures) about 7,000 a month….. The result is the beach erosion shot. I looked at the metadata – img_2008. Easy!! Go to the external drive where all the images of this number could be – about 400k images worth…. Nope, nada… the metadata was incorrect. I got a nice sunset?

It won’t happen via database or searching Dec, 2017 files. How about manually visually checking? Well, it would help if I had the correct year. Nope. Jane could not remember the exact year when I tried to pin her down a bit more. Jane?!?!!!!

We were in our brief Cracker Barrel stage. The cats sleep on Colleen. Dave? Nice hat, it was for Xmas. I don’t think he ever wore it again. When was Soph this small?

More December? Different years? After all, it is Jane. Did I mention she has a completely different logical thought process than ordinary women – aka “ditzy!!” Ya gotta love her. She throws non sequiturs like comedy punchlines. Lucy and the football, I bite every time. Oy!

As I said, “briefly” – Cracker Barrel – once more. We were in DC – the one and only – when I first got this camera. The “img_” indicates the file Jane seeks came from this camera. She swears I took the picture without any other backup collaboration. I remember beach erosion and taking pictures of it. Where? When? My database does not come up with any key words – nor’easter, storm, erosion, etc. Venus rising from the sea? We stayed in a mansion in Elkins one Xmas. Claw foot tub, it wsa picturesque, and, cold!! I was about as surprised as you (and her) to find this picture in the December collection. And, I found that I had bought the silly hat a couple years earlier. Jokes can sometimes take a while to get to the punchline – I don’t think he ever wore it, again.

Meanwhile I never did find the picture Jane wants. I probably never took it. Who knows?

As for December – I have been in a lot of places – Elkins, Colorado, Arizona, California, Washington DC, Saudi Arabia, Ohio; Cracker Barrel, Grand Canyon, Eddie Bauer… An I have been with great beauty, family, friends, and my dearest Colleen. This partial list tells me that December has been a fun month full of surprise and adventure thanks to Colleen, who always seems to have an idea and a plan. And thanks to Jane I am still looking for that picture.


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!


Spring

Yes, I am aware we are in early summer. We had a period of heavy rains. The beach washed away. A double rainbow? Yes, we got one. Flowers? Of course! Hope springs eternal! Always! When in doubt, one can always comment upon the weather.


Now

Nowadays. Life is still disorganized. Sure, why would it be different? Come as you are. Discover adventure as you go. We don’t work with a plan. I take pictures. Random discoveries, scenes, locations, cats, weaving, and selfies dot my work. You never know what reflection will present itself or what sunset will come next. Though life can be unpredictable, it has and is certainly a lot of fun.


Once

Saudi is a beautiful country? Hot desert sand, no rain, every day over 100 degrees, strict religious rules… yes, uniquely totalitarian. Good?! Hmmm… let’s say I am happy to be home again. Did I mention everything stops for “prayer time” five times a day?

Dave learned to dive in Saudi. His sister joined us and we adventured together. They did their first night dive together with me. Scared of the dark? Nah, they were just holding hands because…. Yes, Jules had to wear an abaya! It’s a man’s world in Saudi.

No matter what, my kids can say they visited Saudi and experienced the culture for a brief time. I feel fortunate to have given them this opportunity. What memories!


For a little while…

Abruptly, it ended – my adventure in Saudi.  Colleen was relieved. Very! We reconnected while I was still there. She never got to visit. Saudi law/rules prohibit casual visitors. My daughter was family – ok! Can you say culture shock!? I was lucky. Photo ops! Did I say Colleen was relieved? Can you imagine being trapped there for a couple years during Covid? Colleen worries. She has a vivid imagination! Relief!


How’s the weather?

Moonset, sunrise, sunset, clouds, jet trails, water – I get all kinds of weather into my memory card. The colors standout. It’s not every day I get a shot at spectacular weather. But, everyone talks about the weather. I shoot it.

I have lots of cats – ha, ha – and lots of cat pictures. But the number of yawn pics is small indeed. And, I have a smaller number of pics with Colleen in a hat. She doesn’t wear hats. She looks good in a hat. She’s a good sport. I was told to stick with weather….


Time of day

Dusk or dawn? We’re on the road again. Near or far? It’s America. It feels like dawn? How? Less traffic? Bridges? They are America. We go. The scenery slips by. I shoot out the windshield. Colleen shoots. We see America go past. I hope it’s gonna be a better day. Yes, hope!


Colleen shoots

It’s not just me. Colleen shoots. She does not like to – shoot. But, I cannot shoot from the car, and, drive, sometimes. And on a rare occasion, I actually turn around and stop to shoot. I did this one time. Colleen’s shots are sprinkled in. I’m not asking for guesses. She is relieved my shooting thru a car window is – forward. I cherish the opportunity to appreciate the beauty and the serenity of nature.


Ritual

So much to say, I could write an essay or an editorial. No! It’s not my mission…

We buried Ray (next to Patch) in a box shipped with sheep fleece. Smell? The cats loved boxes – to climb/play in them. And, Ray had a favorite gerbil/toy and I had recently found it behind a cabinet. He would hide his toys and not tell us so I could retrieve it for him. Ray was so happy to have played with it again. Mike brought over a rose. We (God) had a special sunset that day. The ceremony in the backyard was simple – Ray in a packing box with his gerbil. Grief, grieving, it’s a funny thing. We miss that little cat so much. Cats grieve too. Yes, that’s Nutley with the sad sad eyes. He misses his brother. We are hugging Nutley extra close.


Who do you love

It’s always rhetorical. Which of your kids is your favorite? Favorite cat? Answer: You love them all. Equally? Answer: You smile. Favorite time? Favorite place? Favorite picture? In the moment, I like/love everything. Wrong! You love your wife, elsewise, you will not live to take another picture. Ha ha.

I’m just randomly flipping thru the catalog today. Monhegan Island. Just like that, I could recognize and recall the meal, restaurant, and setting. How? Memory is a funny thing. Pictures are my trigger to open up the past for me. Otherwise I have monarch butterflies scattered liberally in my catalog. Good luck finding a pic easily amongst the lot. Ditto, sunset. Sheep? Yup, I do not recall any particular sheep. This is all a random draw.

Cats? It’s still raw to recall Ray, whom we recently lost. Colleen will say we have favorites. Less favorite? … to which I say, I love them all. Need I say, she is my favorite wife?


Middle of no where nowhere

I have a parochial view of the Midwest. Biased. For sure. I have been thru but never been there. Passing thru is all I wish to partake. Yarn Barn – a destination. ?! Colleen knows it as in tourist destination – for spinners and weavers. Yawn! With newfound knowledge and interest I am looking at spinning wheels in a different light. Schact and Ashford – hallowed names in spinning wheels. Ho hum. They are sold but not made in the store. But to touch and feel…. Ha ha. We did not buy a wheel. And, I did not get a haircut. It is like antique stores. You never know what you may find that you did not need until now. Me? I’m gettin’ back in the car and takin’ Colleen. Need her? You bet!!


In a rut

I can hear Carol –  “…enough cats already” And, “eight is enough!” I’m shooting the same things over and over as when I was diving the Red Sea. Enough fish… hey! I have a camera near at hand. This is the subject material that presents itself to my lens. I am lazy. We don’t get out enough. My bad. Colleen wants to go around anytime anywhere. We got a lot of “going around” to make up for. When do you see a bed pan with a chimney? The moon is not an easy subject, but, it shows up. Telephone poles always seem to be close by when you want to shoot the perfect sunset. I love my cats, too. They are just too cute sometimes. So, what to shoot? I hope travel restrictions end soon. We would like to go again. I am, indeed, a lazy photographer. I shoot what’s available. No doubt. But, I do try to shoot each and every day. Hey! It’s a hobby, not work. Happy and hobby have lots in common.


Art is

There is art in form. Art is not always in museums. Photography is art? Platitudes. There is a fine line between art, photography, and journalism? Is nature art? Antiques are automatically art? Modern art? Does price define art? $$$$ For a shopping cart with zip ties – $10,000. Paying for concept or for a few packs of $1 zip ties? Oh yeah! Does that sound outrageous? Does it make it all the more valuable? I ain’t no critic. Artist, journalist, photographer, gadfly? Egad!! – (word) first used in 1673, how do they know stuff like this? Do you look funny eating?


Me?

F-stop, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, focus, compensation….the eyes roll back and the head nods, asleep. Yeah, it’s partly why I am a nerd. … and wannabe photographer. Know your instrument (camera). It helps. The camera sensor – digital – is an entirely different thing from film. I don’t shoot often in low low light. The crescent moon was in the dark of pre-dawn. The morning star? There’s a challenge. It is just a dot. And, vertical angel light at sunrise? That’s a first for me to see. You all (audience) are lucky. You just see the images. Are you… seeing? It ain’t easy to capture what most folks just glance and then pass over. Been there, done that. Ha! There’s a lot that goes on before you get to publishing.

Me? I am no great photographer. Pshaw! (now, there’s a word I never use in a sentence) It helps to understand your tools (camera) and to be able to recall those instructions in the manual you never read till you needed them.


Worthy…?

… to post? There is a fine line in editing. I see things and cannot quite get it into my camera. At least there is something. Good? Almost? I’m just feeling ok to have anything? The moon at dawn was a challenge. The clouds covered up the moon almost as soon as I got my camera out. I like the pink glow. Close, but not quite exquisite. Sometimes, things look good and then in the edit you realize that focus was not dead on. Or, the color was not quite what you had hoped. The moon was out again a couple days later. What a difference. And … not in such a good way. Maybe I should leave nature alone and go back to people for a while.


Wait a moment

A heavy night rain, with wind, was followed by a cloudy morning sunrise, the moments changed as the sun rose. Can you see the glow of sunrise on the storm pond? I shot and shot; the images piled up. Yes, this was a different morning than my usual. I am lucky to witness such beauty. Thanks.


Sunset is my favorite color

Deep orange, red, violet, blue, the combination is unlike anything else I photograph. We switched drivers right before sunset. We are driving into the west. It was splendid, superb to just sit back and shoot out the window. There were interesting obstacles in my images. A cross? Smoke stacks on the horizon? I got the grey clouds after the orange glow departed, and, there was the evening star. How nice! The colors of the sunset are my favorite by far.


On the road

It could be anywhere. I could check. Need I? Scary? Umm… not really. Colorful? Sure! We must be traveling west? Great sunsets! And religion is where you find it. We are on the road. It happens periodically. I/we have kids and grandkids in states from New York to California and in between. Colleen does not like to fly. I don’t mind the drive. We rent a car. It saves 8000 miles of wear on mine/ours/hers. It’s a plan.


Too little time

Too many stories. We are lucky. A picture can tell a thousand words. I prefer to be succinct. Pictures!

Colleen says I look at people (women) too much. Things have changed. How do you come to work? Really!? Mom always said wear clean underwear. If you come to the trauma ER, they cut your clothes off you. I’ve seen some pretty fancy underwear (shredded). Just wondering…. Another sunrise? I am so fortunate to see another. It’s a gift. The Turkish plate? It’s totally out of character and out of sync to everything else in the house. It fits right in. Nope, we are not in need of a bed pan. I don’t see an old “set” every day. Likely, I will not again. Everything is disposable now. Yes, the times are changing. I used to go to work in suit and tie. In my last job, I simply lived in scrubs for four straight years. A tie and jacket came out of the closet only a handful of days.