Word and Image

Sunset/sunrise

Seen this?

iPhone 12. It’s not an advertisement. Jeff took this of Jules and Noa. Perfect. Pretty perfect. That darn iPhone took a great one. Would my camera do as well? That’s the great debate. If it would, (not), then why don’t professionals shoot with iPhone 12? Ha! There are pros (pun) and cons to the argument. But professionals use cameras because…. Maybe someday my spiffy camera will make phone calls.


Good

What’s good? Photoshop enhanced? Is it good straight out of the camera? Do you allow major or minor manipulation? When is does it cross the line into being art instead of photography? Purist? The algorithm in the camera already dictates so much. Shoot raw? The manipulation you do, is it to recreate the image you saw. Or are you creating the image you imagined? What’s good? I’m glad I don’t have to care about all that. I have never competed in a photo contest. Well, once, and, I lost. Sour grapes? Nope. It was expected on my part. I’m good. But I am not in the same league with award winning photographers. I’m not dedicated to perfection. I could do a good job given the responsibility. Sure, but it was never my day job. So, I am content. I have a catalog with hundreds of thousands of images. Some good. On the whole there are too many good images to possibly ever post. That’s good.


Hen’s teeth

It’s a rare event – to be impeached. It’s a rare event to experience/see a solar eclipse. Hey, I’m just reflecting upon the fact that I have experienced more impeachments of POTUS (two) than of solar eclipse (one). I ain’t proud. It’s a unique feat to be impeached twice as POTUS. Just sayin’…. let’s hope he (trump) doesn’t come around again in my lifetime… or in yours. So what? He was acquitted. I still haven’t seen another eclipse. That would be a (bought) solar filter on the front of my lens. The Senate had their own blinders on too.


Wondering?

From sea to shining sea, the United States people are as different as the topography of the country. There are delicate balances among ideas that clash. Among the profound beauty there are great divides in ideologies that define our beliefs. I remain hopeful and optimistic. Balanced rock, Arches National Park, will still be here long after I am gone. Someday it will fall. There is a cycle and inevitability to things. I hope we will solve climate change. I will never know. There are those who deny climate change and evolution and this never ceases to bewilder me. I have been blessed to witness much beauty in my lifetime. Would you disagree with that too?


Camera and my mind’s eye

Sunset is tricky to image. The camera automatically wants to meter the field and washes out the gorgeous colors. You have to fool it into doing what you envision/see. I’m lazy. No, not Photoshop. I use my wits to outwit the camera’s metering. Hey! It works. It’s otherwise too much to search out manual settings. The book cover photo is mine, not the book or title. Hey! They found the picture on the internet and used it! (with permission) Nice! It’s not a living, but I have sold a few pics. Not four, a few.


Faith

I must have thousands of images of Patch. Of course! Find one. That’s not so easy. I cannot show you how he liked his “treats.” But, I can show you his favorite basket. He liked his comforts – nestling on the down quilt on our bed. Colleen adopted him before we met again. And though he was her cat, he was our cat. We remember him with smiling, in all the little unspoken wonky habits he kept.

The quintessential image? Patch had a look. He had a partially lidded look. He never seemed to look me straight in the eye. There are people I know whom I look in their eyes and there is deeper thought behind their eyes than what they reveal to the world. Patch had that look. You will see what I mean when tomorrow’s post is published; my other cats engage my look so differently.

Symbolism. Lisa once commented that religion and church were for the symbolism of birth, death, and marriage. Without faith, one gives up symbolism that drives much of the ceremonies of life. (We {Lisa} were married by a judge on a house boat.) On the day Patch died, I saw symbolism in the snow geese at hand. It was a stark cold rainy day. The rain was angel tears? Today the sun finally rose, a promising cold crisp winter morning. It is the third day. I want to believe in a higher spirit. It lifts my heart to know someone I loved is at peace. And, I’m hugging Colleen extra tight today.

The raw emotion I am feeling is not usually on display. I prefer a more irreverent bit of wonky humor on the world around me. The rest is private and only comes out rarely. The last time, was when I connected and wooed Colleen after five decades of separation. Indeed, I am holding tight to her, and more so with appreciation that she is my “one and only.”


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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.