Word and Image

Travel

Arches

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To see the “arches;” it was on my bucket list. Half hearted. But yup! We got to the park about an hour before dusk. Right at sunset we arrived in the parking lot nearest to “Delicate arch.” It’s the emblematic arch on all the photos. You can hike (too late and too chilly) or you can get a view a short walk from the parking lot. It was a long telephoto lens shot. I was disappointed not to get closer. Oh well. But then… looking at the shot, it seems I did come away with an image. And I got the sunset glow. Well, ok! You take what you can get. It was better in retrospect. Decent!

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The other quintessential image is balanced rock. It is solid and not reinforced as the strata might suggest. The minerals that leached through the rock gives it a stratified look. To me it looks like they used concrete reinforcement. But no. At some point it will fall over. Everything changes over time. Hey! I saw it before it keeled over. Yay!

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Cape Cod Revisited

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Okay, this post would/should follow the post of Feb 14. I got ahead/behind myself. And I remember Ginny’s admonishment. “More people.” But I’m behind on going into the/my archives. Soon…she jokes there are pictures decades old that she is still waiting to see.

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When I took these slides they were quintessential images for me. They were framed by my (then) father in law and remained on display for many decades. Pictures fade. I printed and framed these slides many years ago. The dunes faded to a monotone. The house (print) has faded to near ghostly. Kodak paper – it fades with exposure to light over time. Unfortunately, I (Kodak) printed in a format they had at the time – 8X12. It’s an odd sized print. Fortunately, there is someone who will print it. I can frame it again. My darkroom (no more) went with the last several moves. I Photoshop now. Luckily, my index system allowed me to find the (digitized) images in about five minutes. Amazing. The slides were taken back in 1981. Would you believe the house is gone? It was in a park/preserve and the house has since gone away. I visited decades later and discovered that this circumstance can never be again. I was sort of shocked that I could not return and that things change. I don’t know why I was surprised. I returned to the spot and the picture (house) was gone? I could never recreate the atmospheric conditions. So, why was I shocked? At least I got the slides. They are all stored away at the moment. Luckily, I digitized them. Crazy. I found the files/slides in a few minutes. ? Yeah, I did it with my database. There are too many images (>400k) to just cull. Lightroom would never be able to save me. Over the years, first on index cards, then Microsoft Works, and now Excel. My file system allowed me to track down the appropriate image in minutes. Neat!  I wish I had digitized a few friendships too.


License Plate

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I have been accused of taking pictures of nothing. No particular value. Nothing that anyone else will ever see. Why do you take it? What’s the purpose? Use? Then again, why have a vanity license plate? It’s awfully easy to remember your plate? And then again? Why take a picture of it? Why post it? Street photography, you are allowed to shoot anything in public as it is considered public domain. That would include people. Privacy? Talk to the Russians. Oh my?! I’ve been all over the map today. Stick to the message – BeHappi.

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Choir

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Serendipity! Again. We arrived in Salt Lake on Sunday. You can attend the broadcast service for free. You just need to be quiet and respectful. It’s a live broadcast around the world to “millions.” So they say. I have no reason to doubt. The choir members may stay for 20 years. There are two musical directors. The orchestra and all choir are volunteers. The production is elaborate and every bit as complex as an NFL game – multiple cameras and vantage points on the big screen. We got to hear the whole thing and then the undressed rehearsal that followed.The great hall has a capacity for 21,000. I guess about 2000 were present with us. It was not a bad turnout for a grey gloomy stormy day in December.

Have you wondered? How many pipes in a pipe organ? Well, one has 16,000 pipes. Wow! They (pipes) can be added as you go. So, start with a few hundred and add on. Of course the ones you see are like the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The rest (of the pipes) are hidden behind. They even have three organist concerts in which six hands can play all at the same time. To qualify an applicant needs a Phd, to have “audience pleasing performance” skill, and… to be a Mormon. Nope, not me…

The temple at night? Spectacular! Superlative even more so because of the Christmas lights. Thank goodness Mormons believe in Christmas too.

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London Bridge

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I’ve been here before. Once. No. Here! It’s in Lake Havasu, AZ. The McCullough chainsaw owner bought and paid for the bridge to be brought over (from London) and reconstructed it (in Arizona). It’s silly. But we were passing through… Don’t jump! Duh! There’s a lot of hard concrete before the bridge goes out over water. I used to take care of kids every summer who jumped into empty pools in NYC. Yeah, “Duh!” to them too. I don’t remember the English telephone booth the last time I was here. I guess there is not too much need in London for them either. Why was I in Lake Havasu for the second time? Once was enough? Go figure.

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Yes, don’t jump in the (shallow) water too.


Fireworks for Christmas!

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Manhattan Beach does their annual firework display at Xmas. They don’t compete with the neighboring beach community that does it in July. It’s a very large beach. You have to get a good seat. And so we did. The traffic was horrible. But we were already parked. I guess that was the limiting factor.

We sat alone with no one nearby and had the best seats in the house. It was chilly! And I got fireworks! Next July I’ll look for fireworks images. For now we got some great ones. How do you know he’s going up? He was. I suggested it would be easier to pull than push. But the image? It could be more likely he’s going downhill with the stroller…except he’s not.

On the technical side: I shot the fireworks handheld. This meant I could not use an extended exposure. Ideally: Use a tripod. Set the shutter speed to 3-4 seconds. Adjust your ISO and aperture accordingly. You get sharp trails of light and even multiple bursts. Handheld? Hey, it works too if you set up correctly. It’s what I did when I started. It’s not what I’d do now. But one adapts to the conditions provided. No, it’s not worth buying a tripod special for this occasion. I’m not OCD. Ha!


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Manhattan Beach dresses for Christmas. They have festive lights. The pier is lit. We arrived on the perfect weekend. We didn’t even notice there was no snow.

Is this worth a post? Well, here’s the thought process. We came upon this scene at dusk. The lights and sunset, the trail of lights out along the long pier, my surprise and delight at finding this scene was visceral. We stayed for several days, three nights. And, in that time I tried to get a quintessential image. I knew the scene was special in terms of its graphics and color and potential as a night shot. Heretofore I would not have been able to capture anything of the essence. Film was simply not very good to do this task. Digital and the spiffy camera computer processor gives me something to work with. I never got exactly what I wanted. Wait around? Try again? Do something! Nah! Time moves on and my companions don’t want to stand around forever while I explore options. My modus operandi is to catch what I catch on the fly. It works and it doesn’t. Sometimes you are the bug and sometimes you are the windshield. Huh?


LA

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We have been on a long journey to California and back. The estimate was 5500 miles point to point. The actual miles turned out to total 8200. Yeah, you never go in a straight line. This was the turn around. We spent a weekend with Jules. She can make gnocchi! I helped. It was great fun! And delicious.

There were cupcakes for dessert. I’d do it all again. In case you cared, I don’t really eat icing… too much sugar. I gotta watch my sugar. And I’ve been avoiding high fructose corn syrup too. So should you.

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Hey! We got Jeff that hat in Moab. He actually wore it immediately. I usually wear my new stuff about a year later. I bet you didn’t know that either. Alas, my new jeans and new shoes had to be worn almost immediately. It’s inside info except for those who know me.


Mary Coulter – Architect – (female)

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Colleen has a penchant for biographies. Wherever we have been she haunts the bookstore for local women and their struggles and achievements. I hardly paid attention.

…Well, I do. It’s like when the kids were little and I half listened as the “wife” would prattle along at breakfast. I got practiced at listening and being able to repeat the last ten words so as to look engaged as I avidly read the sports page. (I can still do it, though I don’t need to… no current wife.) To paraphrase, she one day related, “You know (NYC) cabs like to come up beside you and honk while you are driving.” Distractedly, “Oh, what do you do?” (avidly reading said NY Times) She replied excitedly, “When they beep I look over and they jump ahead and cut me off. So instead, I step on the gas and don’t allow them past.” She sat with a satisfied smug grin while I cringed knowing that her next car accident was right around the corner. “No! Don’t do that!” as I realized that, indeed, I did have the ability to follow a conversation without listening.

We leased a Volvo wagon in 1991. It was a running joke among my friends that we had no original parts on that car when we turned that vehicle in. (She was a new driver.) We actually achieved the ignominious distinction of being uninsurable. Imagine paying $26,000 a year for auto insurance. Yep! A month later I shopped for another vendor and we were immediately invited to enroll in a major carrier at about $1500/year. Go figure. I did not ask why and we were still insured with them decades later.

…okay, back to my story. Grand Canyon. I’m there for the pictures and the scenery. We’re in the bookstore. Sunset is in an hour. Look! Surprise! Books! Mary was an architect at a time when there were no women in architecture. She (actually) had to have men draw her plans. And she designed some pretty strange stuff. So it’s good the men were there to help (watch over) her….KIDDING! Her designs at the Grand Canyon were to incorporate her buildings to fit in with the environment. She also was the designer/architect for the “Harvey houses.” (Remember: Judy Garland – “The Harvey Girls.) Yes, Mary was pretty special and a woman of achievement at a time long before “equality.” I learned something new. Wasn’t that special?


Grand Canyon

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Iconic. Bucket list! It’s something you gotta see! A must! I took it (this pic) the same afternoon as starry night (see yesterday’s post).

It’s been done before (this picture). I’m not the first one in this spot taking this picture. But it’s my picture. I did it. I took it. When you stop to think about things, the Grand Canyon has been around for a very long time. Ginny pointed out something casually when she mentioned that it’s people who matter. That’s unique. That comes around once. In the scheme of history people are forgotten except for heinous war lords, assassins,  etc. However, this monument to nature will endure. It’s my pic. The metadata says that I was there with my camera. I suppose a nostalgic pic of the kids or… Ginny would be more sentimental. “Priceless!” as they say in that current credit card commercial.