Nat King Cole sang: There Will Never Be Another You
Ray and Nutley joined our family on July 3, 2018. Kittens. A nest of baby swallows were just learning to fly. Ray was named after Colleen’s cousin Mike. They were our sixth and seventh cats. We calculated that Mike (Ray is his real name) would not mind so much feeding a namesake when we were away. Ray came with the worst URI (upper respiratory infection – cold) ever! Soon seven – count ‘em! – seven cats were sneezing. Imagine a cat sneezing without covering their mouth. Appetizing!?!? Everyone recovered from their cold. We have not recovered from Ray’s loss. He was such a part of all of our lives. Even my other cats are empathic. They cannot communicate verbally. But, their actions – reaction to Colleen’s sad crying – reflect an understanding and empathy of profound loss. Me? I simply did not realize how much Ray was integrated into our daily life and routines. He was involved, tangled, in every activity. He had an outsize personality – a strong silent leading cat. Colleen recalled a long list of antics that humored us endlessly. He was a true loyal cat whom we loved and who loved us. I know I am inadequate to impress you with words how much we are missing him. Too soon, too soon, you left us.
Quintessential? Camden. It is a very picturesque town. There are shots. Perhaps I was not feeling the inspiration? Lazy? Who knows? I have been here. Have i? This is no time to be existential. Like the sunset, it is subtle in color. Is there more to say? Some days are like that. Pictures jump out or not.
One could hardly say that about the Portland Headlight. However, there is a mansion that has fallen into ruin. Colleen has to read and look at every single plaque. She reads them all. I am about the photo op. I have seen the ruins. They were im-memorable. So, who got to see the ruins?! Again? The reflection? You have to peer over the fence and look down to the tidal puddle below. No one, of the myriad of bus tourists, ever sees this picture. They never peer. After all, you only have a moment, otherwise you miss your bus ride. Though I have been here many times, it’s always different. Today, it was about the wildflowers. Working the scene, it takes a moment to find the right vantage. Eh?
The shot of the day? Colleen spotted it. I just shot the picture. But! She spotted it! Wow!
Right after I lamented yesterday, it seems that I have a hole in my posts. Today was open. Nada. Nothing. …. good thing I checked. Travel! We made it to Maine. They canceled the Common Ground Fair and Pumpknfest amid concern for Covid. Boo! So, make lemonade. We are: Outdoor dining. Bakery for breakfast. Touring. Getting lost. Lost earring. Old Revolutionary war era home. There’s a lot you can do. Masks and not. I worked the duck scene. I did not quite get it right. But, there it is. Too much potential, not enough patience, wrong lens? How lovely! … on the road again. Lost earring? We bought a pair and (Colleen) lost one constantly donning a mask. Returning to the store, we found out they could track the artist and get a replacement or another crafted. That is a happy ending!
1. relating to or belonging to a profession.
2. engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.
Strictly amateur, though I might have pursued photography more seriously, it was never my day job. I chose something a bit more exclusive – brain surgery. Ha ha. Who knew? I quit surgery and am still doing photography. Hmmmm… Photography (for me) is random and unrestricted without any mandate to get “the shot.” It is (continues) a negative cash flow as I buy new camera equipment. Rewarding can be altruistic as many family members appreciate my efforts. Colleen can be (is) such a kind audience. No pressure! I am quite content to let luck be my guide. The neurosurgery department motto (my residency) was: “Better to be lucky than good.” This more or less refers to a miraculous save during surgery that transcended the basic skill of the surgeon. Of course, it helps to be both.
Bearded blue heron? That’s what Jess called it. I had a ringside view. Unfortunately, I did not get the money shot when it took flight. Hey! You cannot get everything you want. But, I guess I did get a few ‘good’ shots! Wonderful. I think so. Are these good? I think they merit a “Whoa!”
Two meanings. 1. Return on another trip. 2. Do it again.
Same, different? Ummmm, we got/experienced these places together. Luck. It was as though they just up and bit us. They say you can’t go back. This was a return trip to Maine. And, this time we visited Canada too. I would say it was about as magical as our first trip together. Little did we know there would be no return trip for a while. Covid stopped us last year. This year we are planning to return. New photo-ops. It’s never the same. It’s always (more) fun.
I give up. Currently, I cannot cull, edit, and choose a single image from among the myriad of good ones I have in my collection. So, I cheat. I use a gallery and sneak in multiple images, sometimes, even “repeats.” How else can I share the fun? Every time I see the flower with the “tongue” I think of the Rolling Stones. Water, it’s a universal favorite. No matter, it’s all good and keeps getting better… well, at least it’s always changing.
Way back in the beginning… back in 2011, I started this blog. It was free. Free is for me! I’m not selling anything. No $ either way, in either direction. Not true, I pay a fee for extra memory (on the site) nowadays. There are ads, a few, not my doing, not mine (ads). Essentially, free. Followers, a lot of commercial WordPress sites these days, fishing for business. Followers, a few, to whom I imparted the blog address. There are few enough followers who have found me from around the world. But indeed, there have been visitors from around the world. Ah, the power of the internet! I do not seek fame. I merely share thoughts and photos. I’m better than average and less than great. I am not the best in my family but better than most. My own kids have produced 5 star pics on their iPhones! It’s not common, so, the body of my work is technically better. But, then art was never about quantity. Quality can show up in a single image. Colleen’s kids – Emma has more photography experience. But, even Jess and Ian have shown that even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while. Even though I take great shots, it’s just not every day. But every day, I take shots.
The blue heron stood long enough for me to get shots. And, I could see him gather up to take flight. My timing was off by just a little. So, instead of a great shot, I got an ordinary slightly out of focus slightly blurred shot. Almost. Not bad though, I had asked the camera, lens, and shutter to do an impossible job from a long way off. We are having a discussion because I managed to get something. If it had been a great shot, I would not have to apologize for the miss. I’m mortal. And, this is not my day job.
Not my best effort – yet. There are two hummingbirds. The black head is a mature ruby throated hummingbird. You can see the ruby when it stretches its neck. The other bird with the tan neck is a juvenile. How do I know? Colleen looked it up. Ha! The hummingbird feeder has paid dividends within days after I hung it. I hope to get more shots and with more detail. No complaints. So far so good. Thank you, Jess!
I have cameras. They are smaller than spinning wheels. And, they (cameras) are smaller than looms and great wheels. This does not mean that I don’t have a lot (of cameras). It just means they are more discrete. I have a series (of cameras) that I rotate in use. Each has its own characteristics, and therefore, its use in certain situations. It would be boring to wax poetic over each (camera’s) special or general use. Suffice to say that Colleen’s picture illustrates one “signature” spinning wheel, one loom, and two great wheels, all of which take up (all) the available space in our (her) living room. Three cameras take up a portion of one table that does not have fiber upon it. Which is to say, that the missing camera (I took this photo with it) is my new spiffy Nikon Z5. Yes, one must always keep up with tech. It is the replacement to my trusty Nikon D610, that I purchased when Colleen and I first met. I will not be replacing Colleen anytime soon. I say this upon pain of death. Ha ha. (KIDDING!).
This new camera does take great shots. I’ve been waiting to get the red wing blackbird with its red chevron – only to find, it is orange – and shot with my Sony RX100 VI. The swallow? A crow decimated their nest last spring. I hope they have returned to nest once more. Mix and match, each instrument for its purpose. When you you need a hammer, a screw driver might do if nothing else is at hand. Macro? The right lens is definitely a plus – helpful! But you can do it with or without. I love to learn new tricks. A new camera? A new lens? Is it an excuse? Or, is it inspiration to explore new possibilities? Whatever! I rotate and I use whatever is at hand that will achieve what I imagine. Sometimes it works. Do we need all those spinning wheels? Ha ha. I would not presume to answer that question. But I do know, it’s a whole lot of fun to have the tools you need at hand. … now to talk Colleen into needing a Tesla.
Ok I’ve lost it. Is this really worth a post? Pigeons? If you live in New York City… There are so many better things to speak of and to illustrate. Pigeons in the country? They were out of place on the roof with the solar panels. Suburbia! Pigeon? They were out of place in my neighborhood and Colleen exclaimed when she saw them sauntering on the roof next door. Lost, they were far from home. Fly away.
I was keeping to posting one picture a day. Now, I cheat. I can get around my own rule by making a collage layout. Hey! I have too many images and so little time! The bird feeder is shared by one and all. The birds, a few, eat. The cats have Cat TV. The squirrels disrupt the whole show. (Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too.) My cat Nutley has now been trained (by me!) to go chase the squirrel and then return to the home so I don’t have to get cold on the deck. Ha! (I have to chase Nutley inside, instead.) And, the bonus, I get to take pictures of the proceedings. Colleen has to cajole me daily to go feed the birds. Who knew this could be so much work (fun?)?
I’m scanning old slides. Mostly it’s sentimental – family shots. An aside – I thought I was a pretty good photographer. Boy! What experience teaches you about life!. My scanner does its job according to calculated algorithms. Sometimes good, sometimes not. I glanced at the preview just as it made an adjustment leaving the image washed out. I quickly processed the image rescuing my imagination. Under any other circumstance the potential of this slide would have been lost in a mass edit. Gee, I was not so bad as I feared.
This is a redo. I got shots of the nest a while back. I just stopped by the roadside and let the traffic behind weave around me. This time I pulled off the road once again. The sun was wrong. There were three – a juvenile and two adults? It was worth the stop. Sometimes you take what you can get or we have nothing to speak about, or, to look at.
Nothing is so valuable as something that took a lot to accomplish. I was on my 4th try. The other attempts to photograph the puffins had been utter failure. Ok! I was in the bird blind until they dragged me out. Things were not perfect. I had forgotten my big telephoto lens at home. All was not lost. One can always make do. I did. It was memorable. It was my one and only time.
Look closely. The second head is peeking just under the right wing on the left. Ha ha, your other right, it’s the left of the picture. I stopped short, backed up, and drew angry gestures from passing bikers who had to swerve around my car parked on the grass at the roadside. Hey! I got the shot.
The barn swallows have returned for the third year. I guess they will be back. Last year they made eight little swallows in two batches. I guess you would call it successful. There are lots of swallows buzzing around but no other nests in proximity. They are fastidious. They poop over the side of the nest onto my garage sill. It makes sense. I would keep my place clean if I were coming back. Again and again. Come to think of it, I posted this mother’s pic two days in a row.
I’m using my Canon EOS M6 Mark II with a manual zoom. That’s a mouthful. I would refer to it as the M6 but then you’d be confused. Ah! You probably don’t care. It’s about the picture not how I take it. There is a disadvantage over my all-in-one point and shoot camera. It doesn’t have electronic zoom. Don’t ask. But the bottom line: I can’t zoom in a little extra and get that heron really close. You learn to live with the technical limitations of your gear and adapt to whatever is at hand. I had that discussion with the boss over the $2000+ Nikon D780 body. Nope. … not getting it for reasons too numerous (2000+) to counts. No! Hey! I/we was out riding the bike, not bird watching.
Cardinal, as in bird, is a very skittish one. He does not like to pose. Male? You bet. This is its specific coloration. The female is another color. Duh! It’s a soft photo. (it’s a nice way to say, it’s out of focus). But you will forgive me, if the eyes have a catch light in them. It just makes the photo seem sharp. Not. But that’s my argument and I’m stickin’ with it. My bad, I was shooting through the window (glass) and the screen. Of course, I was challenged. I got a shot or we would not be speaking about this at all. And, not another word – ’bout me being challenged.
I’ve done this before. Sad. Everything “tastes like chicken” doesn’t seem so humorous. There were stacks of crates on a truck headed to? Meat or eggs? Either way it’s an awful way to be treated. Point A to Point B, maximize space and profit. Humanitarian treatment doesn’t apply to non-humans? Oh boy! I would almost be a vegetarian. Mostly, you go along happily until it’s in your face. Blissful ignorance. We do that a lot. It’s sad for me to say. Today, I’m thinking about it again.
We bought a squirrel proof bird feeder. It cost $$. Why don’t I want to feed squirrels too? I would have bought a squirrel feeder. The feeder was squirrel free until today. And it works. There is a cage that closes over the holes when the squirrel’s weight is on it. The squirrel was getting something, but not an entire meal. Seeds spilled. Some, including the squirrel buddy, chose the easier way to go, on the deck. At least in this exchange the birds get a higher percentage on the deal.
I got squirrels. Look on YouTube. There are hilarious videos of ways to combat squirrels at the feeder. The poor birds? Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too! …unless your wife thinks squirrels are furry rats. You can see two feeders. The first was like a buffet. The squirrels were putting on weight! The second, a cheap plastic, device was so flimsy it was destroyed in a day. The squirrels destroyed it in a day! Destroyed! In a day! So, I broke down. …. Birds gotta eat. The new feeder has stopped the squirrels. So, there’s no pic. Ha ha. No squirrels. There’s/that’s not a pic.