Word and Image

Travel

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.


Can you find…?

… picture you took in December, 2017? Jane. You gotta love her. She asks innocent questions as though magic occurs regularly. I got a lot of pictures that I take every year. In 2017 I took 45, 000 images. Ok!? December, easy right?! No. She could be referring to any other picture I took and that showed up in some context in December, 2017. For instance I might have posted said picture to my blog and it came from some other time? I have a good database and file system. I can look at images in multiple ways and can usually find anything. But!?! I need a clue. Jane gave me sparse clues without context. So I have no idea what pic? She could not send me a copy. It’s easy to copy anything you see. She could even take a picture of what she saw. She has an iPhone. Nope. It would not send. ???? Ok. I give up. Maybe some day????

Meanwhile, in my files there were these two iconic shots that had a copy date from December, 2017. They were taken many years before in Cape Cod when I ran away from home. (That’s another story.) The house is gone now – torn down in the name of progress and revenue $. Nope. Not the one, I shall await Jane. Or, she didn’t care enough to try harder and forgot about it all.


Go away! Again

I sit here thousands of miles away writing today. It is about racism in America. Colleen and I experienced white supremacy up close in Kingman a few years ago. We were stopping for lunch and the internet recommended Mr Dz. Great! We were ignored when we walked into the restaurant. Ignored! The auto dealer’s window next door said it all. Silently. There was a man inside who glared at me as I parked and got out of the car. If looks could kill…. He simply glared “go away” in the strongest terms body language and facial expression ever could do. Even Collen was spooked. She urged us to get out of “here” right now! Naturally I lingered long enough to take a few photos. My ignorance was rewarded inside Mr Dz. Zero star review. Same for the town. We will not be stopping there again. Ever! It’s mutual.

Small town? How do you capture its essence. A few pictures of downtown would be a start. The flavor can be caught in a few storefronts. It helps to get a shot of the name of the town on a sign. After that it was a bright sunny day. Watch your exposure. How do you know a town is unwelcoming? Did you ever have a bad feeling? Have you ever had bad dreams?

This bad dream caught my eye again as I scrolled my photo catalog this morning. It evoked a gut reaction given the times we are in right now. Seditious insurrection and lies are being flung about in denial of reality. You decide. It’s still America. I know what I see(n).


Subtlety

I love a bright blue sky day with large white cumulus clouds contrasting the deep blue background. It was a bright sunny afternoon in July. The car thermometer read 108 degrees. It was probably exaggeration. But it was hot out there! The clouds gathered. A storm? No, the weatherman said sunny until he changed his mind. A downpour followed. Surprise!

Bonus! We got a full rainbow. Alas, I was not in a position to photograph left to right and include the whole rainbow in one image. Rainbows are a challenge to photograph for me. Subtle color, it just ain’t easy! There are only so many times you can stop the car. I settled for shooting through the windshield as we drove. Note: don’t try this at home kids.


Late

Lest anyone would forget – we got married. Colleen said we would never attend the 50th High School reunion unless we were married. We’d lived together about five years. So, we did – get married. We had a house full of summer guests. We left them. They did a great job of clean-up. Pfewf!!

50th High School reunion – we were late to the first event. Ha ha, we got a standing “O” when we arrived late. It seems everyone knew our story. I had not attended any reunion since I left and moved to NYC. Colleen has been back off and on. She has friends and has kept up. Me? Absent without a word. Somehow, I tend to stand out especially among this crowd. A good time was had by all. Can you imagine walking into a room full of old people and wondering when did we get old? Some of us became grandparents. Mostly, we all had successful careers and many of us were retired. Wow! Who’d have thunk it! Time flew. I am at peace with the outcome of my life. At the end of the day if you can say you are happy, that would be the ultimate measure of success. Colleen and I did alright to find each other and to watch each other’s back at the reunion.

Late? Late to the party? I guess it would depend upon your perspective as to whether a happy ending is good no matter when it occurs.


Ummm, ok

Useless facts they point out on tours… The table top is from a single tree trunk and the edge was carved of that same trunk. The gilt on the porcelain ware is platinum. It maintains its shine better that way. The room was altered to accommodate the size of the rare wallpaper. The upholstery of the setee was cut from a woman’s fancy dress – the ultimate in re-purposing. George Washington slept here: how about he ate here? It’s dishes from his home. Thanks for the info. I also discovered that antique silver was polished every 20 years. More polish and the metal wears away so much that the silver weight is less. Once every 20 years… Umm, ok!


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!


We been here…

…before! Déjà vu all over again, as Yogi said. I hate it when my wife is right. She’s always right. Damn! I pride myself on a photographic memory. Ha ha! I guess taking a lot of photos does not count.

As we entered the Airbnb, Colleen exclaimed, “We’ve stayed here before. All they did was move the bed! The layout is the same! They just moved the bed around.”

I was stunned and disagreed. I was wrong. It was the same funky bathroom shower that leaked all over the floor. Sure enough, November 2017, same place, same building. Actually, it was the same building, different apartment. And they added a fence to the front. I believe now that we were in an apartment on a higher floor. … same damn leaky shower. Dammit, I got the pictures that prove it!! Ha ha, different camera.

Driving across the US is an experience. It eventually hit 108 degrees on this day, and 1000 cattle died of exposure and thirst. People out there got different ideas… if you can understand the meaning. The beer is essentially the same, but different. It got better with time.

We crossed the country. We will do it again. There are kids in states across the US – NY, WV, CO, CA, and one NKA.

Casablanca – “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine” – Humphrey Bogart.

… she was right again. !!!


You can lead a horse…

… to water, but, you can’t make him drink. Dave regretted not having a camera the other day! He was on a tiger safari in India. And, Disney was there with photo video and mega large lenses to capture the tigers with real telephoto close-ups. Right tools for the right job, eh?! For the first time his trusy iPhone was not quite up to the task. I readily admit Dave has shot some fantastic photos with iPhone. He is constrained by weight and bulk in his travels.

Consider, his iPhone shots are better than many of my most great shots from my spiffy mirrorless camera with a mega telephoto lens. I sh*t you not! There is technique and there is art. Dave has that “je ne sais quoi.” I applaud him. It’ nice that his deft touch is so much better than me. Remember the movie “Amadeus” in which Salieri never quite got it?

Dave got a very nice tiger shot. But he knew he could have done more with a real camera. Hmmm… imagine what he could do with better equipment? I have seen lots of poor iPhone shots from other family and friends. A good/better piece of equipment does not a photographer make.


More or less

Lotta of water under the bridge…  After posting my images from my other catalog – 1, 10, 100 …. I thought maybe I would look at… So, it starts with my Canon G3, my first digital camera and hence the first digital images. and, it goes more or less until 2016. Aha! There was madness to the method. My other catalog is titled 2016 images and beyond. My database is far more reliable and logical.

1, 10: Naturally, the first images out of the Canon G3 were of the family at hand, Dave and Lisa. Jules was in college.

100: Easter followed shortly thereafter. I must have shot film and digital together.

1000: Jules and Lila, my favorite daughter and her grandma, naturally, I will say it was Dave’s graduation, or, Thanksgiving. I could look it up…

10,000: Rugby! Jules quit track to captain the college rugby team. The Australians think nothing of pulling hair. (They wear leather helmets to cover their ears.) Lisa screamed at the TV, “But Jules has a long ponytail!!”

100,000: Damarascotta, Colleen’s favorite town in Maine! It was fall during my “Maine days.”

200,000: Saudi. Jeddah. I was making a late-night meal in Subway. (Yeah, they got one there.) Three guys saw me, posed, and I took their pic.

300,000: Wedding day. Still married. Two kids. My favorite son is still footloose.

400,000: It’s Xmas and Colleen is with her favorite daughter. Well… she’s the one she’s with. Talk about ambiguous use of pronouns…

End: And me. Ummm… the more or less end of the catalog. 2003 to 2016. 2016 to 2022 would see my next catalog easily exceed 400k images too. The exact total of all digital images is in doubt. Slides? The count is more or less 117k.

In this time I have used 17 digital cameras at least. There were several versions of iPhone. The workhorse cameras began with Nikon D70 and D200. Canon G7X and Sony RX100 were mainstay point and shoot digital cameras for me. And now, I am on to the Nikon Z5. It’s been a heck of journey… so far.


Talent

Not to forget the other child… (Lisa would obsess over forgetting the other child.) I remember chasing my kids never quite catching them and letting them believe that they were too fast for me, until they really were (faster). I never let them know the truth. But, I was proud that they surpassed the father and I could no longer catch them if I tried. Dave’s photographic talent has been better than me for many years now. I see it. I saw it long ago. There was that “je ne sais quoi” quality evident to early on after he asked for a Canon G10. Today, it’s iPhone. Everest! I shoot in quantity. Dave is quality. Proud? You bet.


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.


High tide

Bay of Fundy, it’s the high tide. I cannot, could not, photograph its grandeur and immensity. Sure, I can document, but no photograph I took conveyed this force of nature. Fall color? Sure! The scale of high tide and its sheer height difference is easy to show. I simply lacked the creative idea of how to make a remarkable picture from this opportunity. My bad.

The tide comes in a wave; and folks surf it. Cool. We were there. Saw it, photographed it, experienced it. Colleen is such a good sport. We drove madly from place to place to see the tide. Surfing the tide? Imagine that!


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!