Word and Image

Sunset/sunrise

New Year

You go to bed, wake up, the calendar changes, and it is a new year. It doesn’t feel much different. There is promise and hope. A new beginning. A new slate. Reset. Restart. Do over. But, I liked the last one. I like being retired and with someone I have found and love dearly. Can we just replay the last one once again? Wistful. Promise. Hope. I know it will be all there inside bringing on the new. Happy New Year.


Cookin’

You’re never gonna see my kitchen this neat again. The first frost. Dawn. The thanksgiving countdown. Covid is over. At least we are unrestrained and there has been a cooking explosion in my house in response to three years of deferred holiday celebrations. We got food coming from all directions. Cooking. Baking. Oh my! Colleen made mincemeat pie… and tarts. Ummm, no can I not have another, please, And, yes, of course, the cats help!

She baked bread. She laughed. I was so bowled over by the professional quality of her bread…. It tickled her so…. 

Meringue cookies. I had leftover egg whites. Internet! The NYT now makes you pay for recipes. No need! Wow! They came out phenomenal. I kid you not. Jane got a cold and stayed away. Lee arrived a day late. Eric??? Let the family games begin!! I should know better by now. We just got over the worst colds… No one, I promise, will go away hungry.  

When I say “neat,” it simply means you see empty counter surface. Ha ha. (Shhh… three big storage bins of food are in the elevator. Yeah, we got an elevator… )


What’s in yours?

Ha ha. My Lightroom catalog reflects what is in my life. Of course! Family! Love. Life. Food. Sunrise. Sunset. Cats. Antique stores. Flowers. Sheep. Fiber. I state the obvious. There is so much. No going back. I wish…. I miss Lulu (Saudi). I love Feather and Spice. …and Colleen. Transformational. Colleen has made all of life worth living these days. I hope the day never ends.


This year

It happened. Can it be? Covid – mask? Ukraine? Travel? Events? Forbidden?

Though many around us have been touched by covid – children, grandchildren, cousins and so forth….

We went to the museum to see the new exhibit. It’s on loan and traveling from Long Island. Photos forbidden. Oops! I already shot by the time Colleen pointed it out. Does this fall under street photography? It was illustrative that covid was still in our thoughts.

Taken at random the flower or the fish could have been anywhere. I needed the white gate to orient me. Aha! Winterthur – been there!

Random sunset. Or perhaps sunrise? It would depend on which side of the car windows I was shooting. Aha! Metadata?! 6:56PM.

Fine photography? No, nope, not hardly… but, fine by me.


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.


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.


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.)


Surprise

This is a mix of shots Colleen made as we drove up to Maine. Yes!? She shot through the windshield rather than have me do so while driving. Ok! Not bad! In fact she got some first class shots! Really! I mixed in a couple of my own. Who could resist? But, Colleen did a great job. She complained or lamented that she missed shots. So? We all do. I do! Nice work. She’s becoming a photographer and doesn’t suspect that the lessons are taking hold….yet. Lee… no peas were harmed in the making of her dinner.


What do you shoot?

I got about eleven cameras in rotation. I shoot regularly with four right at this moment. Other cameras are in closets or on the shelves having outlived their usefulness giving way to the newest latest greatest technologies. I have several iPhones. Only one is in current use. So?

The question arises: what camera do you use? It depends on the circumstance. For events like an Indian Powwow I want to use the “big gun” and the “big lens.” It’s nice to have choices. I keep a camera on my desk: clouds, moon…. I have a camera on the dashboard of the car. You never know. Colleen is a good sport about taking pics rather than my handling the camera while driving. Good! I have a camera in the dining room to get grab shots of the cats when they are frantically trying to be cute or to avoid me. I use a macro lens for my flower garden and otherwise I am zoom lens on pretty much everything. I tend to the maximum zoom. So, why not a prime zoom at that focal length? TMI!

It was a simple question. I download to five redundant external drives under the assumption that everything electronic breaks down – eventually.

What do you shoot? What do I shoot? Mainly it breaks down to fitting the camera to the need. It is nice to have choices.

Now, to wives? There is only one!! One! One and only?!!! Different day different camera, but only one wife!


Tea

High tea. It’s referred to:

“English High Tea usually involved a mug of tea, bread, vegetables, cheese and occasionally meat.

What is difference between afternoon tea and high tea?

Delectable scones, tea sandwiches, and cakes are the hallmark of an afternoon tea, which is served in midafternoon. A high tea, however, includes much more substantive fare…

“Tasha Tudor: was an American illustrator and writer of children’s books.” Beloved!

Colleen has loved her books and illustrations long before I met her. We have bought several of her books which are collectibles from antique stores.

And, I have become introduced to the Tasha Tudor society. Yes, a fan club! On her 107 birthday we attended a Tea in her honor far from our home in Lancaster PA. I won the door prize! Imagine that! We had a splendid time. There were speeches. There was a tour.

Yes, there are cults that promote good. We met people who had met Tasha during her life. Some folks have pursued celebrations like this for many years. It is indeed humbling to see living history pass as the participants grow ever older and the tenuous connection to Tasha fades.

The day started in fog and ended with a spectacular sunset replete with rainbow. Nutley, as ever, did not want us to leave him for the day. Colleen ate in a favorite restaurant as a coda. Perfect! Priceless!


Boring

Not! Life is never the same. We finished a kitchen renovation. What happens if you don’t like the color? Now, for the backsplash – I was gonna tackle that job. Experience? None! Ha ha. Confidence or stupidity? Easy! Except if, the tiles are not fitting the wall height or width, and, there are outlets to cut around. Oh boy! The weather! It’s always fun. Clouds, color, the moon all provide ample opportunity to capture a good image. Why are there always telephone poles in my images? Flowers?! Too numerous to count. While renovating we had to eat out. Eh? You know who likes to eat out!


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.