You might laugh? Maybe not. My cats live in fear. Spice does somersaults. Well, I make her do them. Actually, I toss her. She’s not a fan. I go way back. I had two brothers. We were pretty typical. We were rough and tumble. Maybe this is why Jules was so good in sports and stuff. I started her tumbling about at an early age. But, she did have a lot of motion sickness, especially in the car. Who knows? What I can say is that if I don’t sit still and neither did/does she.
Who is the dominant force in the relationship? It started as always. The eldest. Close closely, he followed his older sister and all of her instructions and games. I first noticed the schism when Jules wore black and Dave wouldn’t. It all grew “testy.” He could drive his sister mad with frustration. Men! Lately there is an armed truce. They are separated by east and west coast. They are similar yet won’t admit it. I watch and observe. At this stage one can’t interfere or repair or do anything. Was I this way when I was younger? It’s always been my game. I guess I have never looked to myself to see. How much responsibility do I bear? We counted the number of Xmas presents to be sure there was equality. I simply watch myself to not stir up jealousies now. It’s fascinating. I don’t know how this will end.
I know this now. But then? Detail. Zoom in more than you think you might. The image has more impact. I do this now. Then? Not so much. Here’s an example. I was more frugal. Film costs. Digital doesn’t. So, experiment. Get in close and go big. iPhone. Too many times the angle is bad and so is the image. I notice a lot of people shoot vertical with the iPhone. It’s because that’s the easiest way to hold it? I shoot 99% horizontal with digital these days. It’s because my computer screen is panoramic horizontal. Ha! All the blank (vertical) space on the side is boring. Back then? I would say that 30-50% of my images were vertical. You can make it work. I still shoot horizontal most of the time. But now? I put my main subject off center. It works. Change. Evolve.
Ten years. Shutterfly keeps sending me reminders of what I did ten years ago. Look? Meanwhile, I had just dreamed I was back in Saudi working. I had a hole in my grey slacks. Imagine the trivial details your mind makes up in dreams. Another school shooting yesterday. It must have weighed in my dream too. I dreamed of a car load of weapons. I don’t shoot. Meanwhile (again), it was Dave’s graduation. Tuition done! I paid. It was a ton of money. He used his degree? I get his periodic USC news magazines. I don’t want them. The best thing of the day? His cousin’s (future) husband arranged for us to have a sushi celebration dinner at a high end LA restaurant. He’s an actor (starving, of course). I don’t eat fish let alone raw. It was sublime! – as in the best I’ve ever had (the one and only time I’ve ever had). Yes, that was the first and last time. If you could bottle a perfect memory that sushi was the quintessential perfect memory. So, there’s no point in ever being disappointed in the future. Lila used to tell me that she remembered many a memorable meal and where she ate it. I don’t “live to eat.” But, sometimes I think of what she said once upon a time.
I’ve been scanning old slides. Paris. All the iconic buildings are there in my collection. I can’t name most of the buildings now. I took pictures of the hotel room. Don’t’ laugh. And people? The kids? Family? A small percentage. What’s valuable this many (decades) later? Answer: The kids and family and friends. But not the trite pictures of standing in front of a monument to document – “Look ma, see where I am, wish you were here too. “No, it’s the intimate moments. I didn’t get too many. I’ve been blitz scanning after leaving off in 2013. So far, 2000+. Yes, it’s a long slow painful process that no one modern (digital) will ever have to do. The upshot? Too few of the slides are really keepers. Sad. I took a lot of documentary pictures of not much value now. The pics that make me smile are the ones of the kids when they were…that little?
Paris fashion? Paris in the springtime – it was a song. “I love….” There are a few photos of me going back in my archives. It’s interesting to see me before I was gray haired. It’s fairly obvious that I handed over my camera to document myself. That grey Domke bag was actually used completely. You know? Like I actually wore it to death. There’s something to be said to wearing your jeans until they wear out instead of having been manufactured “worn out.” I wore my signature khaki pants and fleece jacket. Not much has changed except that now I use a black camera bag and have gray hair. Me worry? Nah!
It must have been a warm day. I have no hat. We’d ski and try to do some death defying jumps. Actually, they were just bumps. That would be me. Don’t laugh. The last time I remember skiing was with Julia in Sunday River. Or, maybe it was Hunter with the kids and uncle Eric. Either way, it’s been a few years. I guess, like tennis, and golf, my best days are behind me. I can still do it. There’s not too much incentive. And, it’s flat!!…here in Delaware.
Nostalgic. Was I ever this messy? Was I ever this disorganized? Was it this chaotic? Jules is in my seat. Old cracked leather chair? There is the last bulk slide loader – not the current one I own. There is the original Apple laptop. And there is a Mac desktop. And I see at least two external storage drives. The materials no longer exist. A floppy drive? Floppy discs. The grandkids wouldn’t have a clue. Books!? Paper!? Slide carousels and boxes. The drawers behind Jules’ shoulder are the custom made drawers that held the first 40,000 or so slides. Who’d have thought I’d run out of space. I still have those drawers – they need to be remounted/hung. There is a bulk loader for a slide scanner. Ah! A picture that told a thousand stories. And, no, I’m still a mess. Don’t laugh! I don’t throw things away.
I have lots of thoughts. I post once per day. Jules long ago complained TMI when I posted too frequently. Right. She was right. My kids advise me wisely – often. So, you will never see hundreds of thousands of images. Good! Good? Lately, I have so many, too numerous to count. But…my thought?
Well, I started in film. I have faded pictures of which I posted recently. My paranoia? Lost slides – by way of really lost, fading, mold, damage, fire, dust… Storage? Not much choice, they have to be physically stored. Environment – temp, humidity, dust, mold? It plays on your mind. I had friends in college who were totally obsessed with dust on their film and their lenses. Peter Hong comes to mind. Imagine that? Poor Peter? Well, I think his name was Peter? We had a freshman Quantitative Chem class. You weighed things out to the 4th decimal. You know? – .0001 gm – that would be very light weight. And, any error – just dust – could throw off your result. We were obsessive about washing the lab glassware! Madness. That lesson has not stuck – not one bit. I have spots and stuff on my lenses. Mostly, I refrain from using my shirttail to wipe the glass. Thank God!
The post today is more than 20 maybe, closer to 30 years old. It has stood the test of time stored relatively well and kept in the dark. No loss of color. I know. I know. This is all disjointed. But when I recently scanned this slide it jumped out for some reason. That crisp winter day is still like it was when we were there. The colors did not fade. The scanner technology got rid of most of the dust without me doing a thing. Shooting through a fence with auto focus is hard. Somehow the camera behaved perfectly. All sort of memories blend seeing my kids playing platform tennis. They probably never played again. That’s bittersweet too.
There is the story of the fisherman and the biggest fish you ever saw…. In one day recently, I saw a vulture – 3 foot wing spread – sunning and drying its wings in a field – and a pair of cute kids walking in the mist under an umbrella. You won’t get to see those shots. I missed them. Sorry, I see things but don’t always get a shot. Darn!
Here’s another from the archives of way back. We (four couples and my kids) used to rent a ski house. This one time we unexpectedly had a hot tub for which no one was prepared to play in. Undaunted and armed for any (wardrobe) possibility two ladies went in anyway. They were surprised by the guys. It was a big laugh, except one of them was only partially robed. I got there too late with the camera. It was already G-rated and tame by the time Jules summoned me.