Word and Image

Travel

Places

I got images in three catalogs, at least. Computers invite you to be sloppy as much as they allow redundancy. It is appealing to have an external memory bank of things I might have otherwise forgotten. Then again, maybe they are not fond memories either? There has been divorce and … old memories, old girfriends… 

How’s this for horrible? I went to Europe (current girlfriend) and just before we boarded the jet, her grandfather died. We went, anyway. And, then in Spain, I lost my wallet, and, had to call (old girlfriend) to get my credit cards canceled. Amex does not have an office in every city and I had to wait till Rome to get a new card. We traveled with traveler’s checks and eeeked and stretched dollars till Rome!

Meanwhile, it was eye opening to see the (poor) level of skill I had as a photographer back so many decades ago. I know it’s Europe from the pictures. I can see iconic parts of buildings in Barcelona and Florence. I was a younger man. We had stopped by the roadside to sample some of the grapes. The chain on my neck – from the first girlfriend – classless, me (clueless). Oh boy, cringeworthy! Maybe old memories are best left to gather dust… Colleen keeps asking me if i have been … (where?). I should stop talking and stop admitting…. NO! No pics of old girlfriends.


Spartan

I first used AirBnb when Colleen and I first traveled to Maine together. Since then we have used it going ‘cross country. It has been a mixed bag of delight and puzzlement. The pictures are true. I simply refuse to believe my eyes. So, we end up in interesting places. Some of them spook Colleen. Ha ha! Others turn out to be too brief interludes of fun. Kansas City – Missouri or Kansas side? First of all, in the middle of nowhere on a dark and deserted street… a jazz bar – with real music. Unique, one of a kind, sparsely attended, we found it and sat in. Then, onward to our accommodation. Oddly decorated for an apartment building, it was spartan digs with odd flourishes such as an unfinished stone shower. Serviceable, not inviting. Charm is in the eye of the beholder. Colleen was not bowled over. We stayed but a night. I remember the bar/lounge. The music? No. And the room? Nope, not even the odd uninviting shower. Kansas City – it’s in the USA?


Pick one

Too numerous to count… I have so many pictures that have and hold significance to me. Some, held very pleasant surprises for me when I finally developed the slide. I tended to shoot the roll of film and store it in the freezer accumulating about 64 rolls to develop in a gallon kit of developer. Since I shot about a hundred rolls a year, this meant a massive developing session about once a year. Yes, there was no instant review of your work; duplicates occurred infrequently as well. And with that preamble, I did indeed get the occasional “keeper!” Que? Well, you know it when you see it. Each picture a story, I apologize for leaving you hanging. I strive for succinct posts… not enough time. By contrast, one hundred rolls of slides (before 2004) is about 3600 slides/year, and digital images last year exceeded 100,000 using at least four different cameras.


1, 10, 100…

I use a photo catalog. Don’t you? It numbered 413k+ images at the time I composed this post. I don’t ask. It is a very large catalog. The catalog title/contents indicate the images are 2016 and onward. So, early slides from the seventies and digital images from 2004 onward are in different catalogs? Hey! I was always moving images around… but since 2016, there are roughly 413k images collected and (loosely) curated.

Are there redundancies? What constitutes first? What’s last? Here are the numbers: 1, 10, 100, 1000…  100k, 200k, 300k, 400k …on up to the last (see captions) Ok, the key: Me; lighthouse in Maine: Jules whitewater rafting in Maine; Jules shooting basketball in Saudi Arabia; Lulu my cat in Jeddah; Colleen and I vacation in Rockport, ME; Colleen in a restaurant in Scotland; cardinal on my deck; Dover, DE, autumn fair; kitchen renovation in progress.

So? I merely followed a line of curiosity. Random choice for pics to post. It is an interesting series of selections for me. Number one was digital. Number ten was a slide. Hey! It’s how it was in the catalog. The others are, indeed, digital. What to say? I have had an eventful decade as this collection spans images/pics 2007 (not strictly 2016) to present. There are no particular surprises in this potpourri. It reinforces the notion that I am more photojournalist than fine art photographer. Exactly. I picked the right name for my blog! Pictures/stories! Yup!


Adventure

I have been afforded adventures one dreams about but never experience. Good? Bad? Leaving on a jet plane to Saudi from DC, you get the sunset over Long Island and sunrise over Egypt. The hot desert is a jarring sight.

Almost immediately I can dive beneath the Red Sea and its wonderous color and fish. Indeed, that was spectacular and special.

And, there were plenty of stray cats, largely ignored and mostly starving. The desert is cruel and harsh. A sandstorm? Several happened. I rushed out to see it. Disappointment. It was not the sweeping storm of Laurence of Arabia. Nope, it was more like dusky fog. From my vantage and perspective, it was curiosity and not too intimidating. My bad.


Blackwater falls

Oh! I had just returned from Saudi – working. I had the worst cold of my life. Coughing! Oh boy! Here we were – Blackwater falls. I am vaguely disappointed. I have yet to get that “quintessential” photo. I’m still trying. It’s like chasing the perfect barbecue…. People come from far and wide across the USA to be here. By comparison, this is a tiny falls. And, it took until my adulthood to see it. I knew of it and while I lived in WV, I had never been. My first visit, was, memorably with Colleen. It is one more fond memory we have in common. Ah! The longer hair, it hearkens back to my comments about hair the other day in my post. The waterfall? It will still be here; I shall do better another day. Sometimes imagination and creativity need more inspiration.


Reads plaques

Knowledge and information feeds curiosity. Colleen is full of it. She tries to read each and every plaque. She is always learning something new. She and I are complementary. I am “photo op.” I get the pic and she remembers the facts of the place. California coast, I like the concept that a picture can be a thousand words. We’re a team, seeing, and, always learning. It takes time to read plaques; I get more time to get my photos.


Church

We are in churches a lot. We don’t “go” to church. Which, church? Dunno, give me a few shots… ah! It’s Santa Fe. Passing thru. Sights, sound, food…  The ristra was the clue. Vertical or horizontal? ?? Do you shoot vertical or horizontal photo composition? Holding an iPhone vertically answers that question. Most of you hold your phone vertically. A camera, real camera, lends itself to horizonal composition >90% of the time. I shoot mostly horizontal. I don’t make much effort at vertical composition. Why? My computer screen is horizontal. So, it fits, screensavers are mainly horizontal. It’s better use and fills the computer screen easier/better. Oh! Back to church, horizontal or vertical? Me? I go both ways. Ha ha. Colleen? She likes to look inside churches.


Cold

A TV commercial asks – sort of – What’s in your car? We rode in a car last evening and the backseat was empty. Amazing! We have, in the back of our car: snacks, drinks, umbrellas, rain jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves. You just never know where you might be. The stuff comes in handy. Right?! (Ha ha),

Arches National Park – iconic, picturesque, and cold. Cold was good. There were few people. It was fun to be in this landmark picturesque place. Photo-ops everywhere, we are glad we got to see it. Yes, it was cold! And, Mother Nature is awesome.


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!


Flight time

Grand Canyon – grand: setting, view, restaurant, food, fun… Why not? The first time we tried; the kitchen was closed – broken. A year later we succeeded in having a fine meal. Grand, indeed. Colleen loves dessert – flan. And, she loves beer. No Bud, craft beer, and, let it be dark beer, more flavor. To me it is like bitter beer medicine. She laughs; such a sweet woman. You can sometimes order a sample of beers – it’s called a flight. Fun! I watch. I photograph. That way you don’t get to see my face scrunch when I taste the beer. No!


Quick, a Fill-in

My photo catalog was open to this page… autumn in Maine, Monhegan Island, Sommesville, fall, Pemaquid. It’s a redo! Same pictures, new post. …yes, but worthy enough to comment upon once more. I moved today’s original post – Ray – to his b’day July 3. You will have to wait on that. We chased fall color. On Monhegan Island we found the quintessential tourist shot of the “Inn.” Animals posed.

We finally did get fall color… just before we departed Maine. A woodpecker, on the fly, in the wild? Yup, it was just sitting in a tree… yeah, yeah, not flying, but, I’ll take it! The Sommesville bridge? Yes, fall color!

Fun? More fun than being in a bar? Try Pemaquid. We were there over and over again. It is Colleen’s favorite spot. Can’t you see? And we went back about every opportunity that arose. Colleen has a grand sense of humor. Mine is off? A bit warped? A sandwich shy of a picnic? No, nope, nah!


Less is more

Maine. Colleen would move there in a heartbeat. I don’t have another move in me. Where I am is just fine. We can go anywhere. Been there, done that, I lived in Maine. It’s a long way from family. The healthcare is not the greatest. It’s nice to visit and then go home. I will admit that I was never in the Co-Op store while I lived there…. ditto, the yarn store. Damarascotta was a pass-thru town for me – Colleen’s favorite. “Pop” went to U of M. Fall colors – minimal. Red’s? We never ate there and never have. Runaround Pond, my refuge of peace and tranquility, sharing it is a very personal thing. Very! I’m glad we could and we did. Yes, we live to eat. Today? I ran backwards in my catalog to choose. Too many pics, not enough time. But, we try to make every moment count.


Anywhere

Grumpy is a state of being. I don’t know how – to be (grumpy). We could be anywhere. Travel puts you in a different location – different from home, but, where? Scotland? We were in the borders, almost England. Cheshire cat? Narrow roadways, barely, no kidding! Barely able to pass a small rental car thru the portal. I went to park the car, so, Colleen never saw me get thru. Right! And now she denies it! The flavor of Scotland was all around us! Ah! The classic red telephone booth has been repurposed. Red,it’s danger, alert! Everyone has a cellphone now. Don’t you? What use is a phone booth?

Trust me? They were very narrow passageways (roads). Me grumpy? Bah, humbug!


Dream

You are going along all happy and content – and – you are hit by a truck. It’s a joke. But. I feel the other shoe is always about to fall. Gloom? Reality? Are we ever really, just happy? I dunno. Escapism?

Colleen’s lifelong dream has been to visit Scotland. We did it! We got here while we were able. We got sidetracked by Covid while planning the return visit. We await for travel restrictions to abate. It was a splendid visit. Tea, golf, sheep, scenery, countryside, city, views, did we miss anything?

I am sure more adventures await with another trip.  … happy to say we are following her dream.


Women are smart

I was infatuated by Kristina. She was niece to a famous neurosurgeon. Cool. We had a brief travel encounter heading toward Oslo. I never saw her again. It was her decision. Better for me (much!!). Strange girl. I had back pain. She opened her handbag and took out a bottle of mixed assorted pills, found a couple and handed them to me. ??? Oh, she said, I know what they are by their looks. I took ‘em. Trust! It’s wise she did not hook up with me. After all, history says that if you wait, you will meet Colleen once more. Oh! Thank you! I laugh, though. We stopped along the way to Oslo, spontaneously knocking on a  random door to a mansion, and getting a tour from the mistress of the house. That is definitely not my usual, or, maybe…  You may smile (or not) to see the weaving, which Colleen can undoubtedly comment. Warp, weft, pattern, they are all discernible to the eye of a weaver. Me? I am very happy in the place I am in, right here, and, now. I am with a very smart woman, indeed!


Viking cruise

Colleen wants to do one – river cruise. I’m spinning old slides today. Spontaneously, nuts, I was in Norway for a birthday party pretty much precipitated by a dare. Harald turned 65 and threw himself a party inviting an international cohort of neurosurgery colleagues as well as everyone in/from his valley home in Unset. Unset? The entering/leaving sign was two sides of the same board. Replete with belly dancer, the party was a success. I was placed in a farmhouse room with a bed and multiple looms. What did I know then?? Not a thing. Old? Barn loom? I have a different eye nowadays. Colleen has educated me.

And, who covers their haystacks? Green roof? Yup, they have the first real green roofs I have/had seen. It is a fond memory. And, never, ever, accept a birthday party invitation without finding out the location first. Ever! Harald is still chuckling about how he set me up.


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.


It was a good year

I’m a ‘datahead’ a nerd of sorts. It was but a moment ago, Noa was a baby; Colleen and I were in Scotland; my cats doubled in numbers. I have been keeping track of my slides and later digital images from nearly the beginning. First it was index cards and later on a computer. I now use an independent redundant array of external hard drives. It ain’t perfect. About once a year now, I update my yearly database summary. Do you care? … wanna hear?

Digital for me began in 2003. I number 701, 000 digital images in storage now. (Typing “701k” does not look nearly as impressive.) 2021 saw a high of 102k images shot– for the ‘freakin’ year! This spans (over the years) about 15 or more devices (cameras) including iPhone. As I asked, “Who cares?” Well, I do keep track. So, now you know. I shudder to think of how it might be without some “order” to the madness.

Life’s journey has taken me high and low – figuratively as well as literally – from love (lost to found) and to the depths of the Red Sea. Along the way I even took up basket making (#27) – See! Data! Gee!


Highlights

It seems the beginning of my catalog has some highlights – shots over the years that were “keepers.” At least that is my opinion. They were pretty much unplanned shots that turned out surprisingly well. You may readily disagree. I like them. A very early effort was the child at a street market in London. The shot in the pool was a blurred image – wrong exposure, nice shot. Moonrise? It ain’t easy without adjusting the exposure. Motion blur (waves), moon detail, not bad. Wedding? I was a guest. It was a “grab” shot. The couple enlarged and kept it as a highlight. Panning – I learned with a San Francisco cable car. Reading about it is one thing; I gotta do it in order for the lesson to stick. Candid family? There are shots, and, there are shots that make you laugh out loud. Exhausted? Or, no turkey, please! Jules did not cook the meal… What else to say? I simply stuck the camera out the window and pressed the shutter once. Surprise!


Wander thru my mind

No! No Freud today! It’s merely an exercise and lament. When I’m dead, someone looking thru the image catalog will have no reference to time and place. I have a database that will inform. Sure. But, I look at a series and piece together my past memory. The waterfall? I haven’t a clue to what or where. But the adjacent images on the same day, tell a story. I was in Amish country. Someone told me an eagle had nested among the powerlines. There was an image in an Amish market. The African daisy was on sale outside the door. I got some. And the clincher was an Amish farmer plowing the field. For me, in my mind, an image is the trigger for memory. By itself the image might mean nothing to the viewer. To me? it is the anchor to a memory of the day. It’s not photographic memory in one’s sense of genius and it is, most definitely, in my own mind. Convoluted? The brain is like that.


Long tailed cat

… in a room full of rocking chairs. Ha ha. Equipment sale – euphemistic. It was about the auction of a lot of spinning wheels and a couple looms. Complete with a “real” old style auctioneer. Spinner’s paradise.The kicker? I was amonst a group of knitters. Great wheels were going for $50. Spinning wheels were a song. Oh my! It was a heartbreaking nightmare. So cheap! And, my car was already full!! Needless to say, I bid, Colleen cringed, and we won a cute “old” wheel. Who could resist? There is a certain amount of educated gambler in me. I had a value (in my head) and bid up to that limit. One wheel I bid on went for $500. Wow! Near the end, I just kept bidding to raise the buyer’s price. Why not? It seemed obvious that the bidder was just buying an antique toy for his kids. We could tell he was clueless and with a deep wallet (and a long tail).


Do over… again

We have been on an extended road trip. I chased fall color and cover bridges. Colleen chased fiber. Fiber? As in wool and fleece from sheep. Sheep? Yes, there are a myriad of rare sheep with fleeces she covets. ?? Polworth? Teeswater? It’s an endangered breed in the US. TMI!! We made it to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Fair. It went on as scheduled despite Covid. Yes, we got big rain. There were prizes at the auction – another spinning wheel! Ha ha. (I/Colleen won one.) There was the fleece barn, Colleen’s candy store. Llama, pajama, an interloper! Yarn?! Tons. It was more knitter’s fair than weaver/spinner. There was a line (out the door!!!) to purchase this year’s (yarn) color. There was the one room school (revisited). We – Colleen and I – almost went to one. We did sit in this style school desk in elementary school. So, why not – recreate the image of where we met. Again. And, yes, it is my regret – I wish she’d have grabbed on and held me close those many years ago. What a difference fate could have dealt. Such a good time, too many pictures, wistful, and hoping for a do over – life.


Got one

I have been seeking the quintessential fall color image of the year. In the parking lot behind a bank this scene snuck up on me. There are many other shots and many other candidates all over and around Maine from our trip. All worthy images, but, this one jumped out at this point, right now. Yes, it was tweaked a bit to focus on the richness of color in the scene. It reaches an emotional level beyond prose. Ok!