Scotland! I owe Colleen a return trip. Our flight was canceled at the onset of the Covid shutdown. It rains a lot in Scotland, hence the same rain jackets throughout. This time we will take more rain gear. The thistle is a Scottish national emblem. Cat? Shhh… not mine. We cannot pass a bookstore without stopping.
Ah! Revival? I have resurrected my old blog site Photocritical. In case you clicked on it in the past… I have recently begun to post there once again. Thank you all who have followed and visited this blog. Meanwhile, I am making a shameless plug for you to have the opportunity to see other photos.
Ha ha. I just broke my own resolve. One image. One story. I can do that?! Ok, I shall be less exuberant. Sort of? Confused? Well, the blog started as one picture a day. And with so much material…. Meanwhile, Spice looks stern enough to hold me accountable. Right!? Water and flowers? It’s a good picture. And it is different. I get thousands of pictures of the flowers in my garden at this time of year. So?! The same pictures? Boring! Well, not exactly. It’s like clouds, every one is different. Yeah, but! Go figure. Flowers and cats, my favorite subjects at this time of year are worthy images. It’s for fun after all. And I do it to showcase good images. Redundancy was never an issue before. Am I repeating myself? Was there a story here? We’ll see. Pun?
… 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!
While I dove in Saudi, the Sony RX100 was touted as the best point and shoot underwater camera ever! Ok, a bit of hyperbole, but, it was well regarded. I did not pull the trigger and get one. I was committed to my investment in the Canon G7. I succumbed to the hype in 2018. The first pictures: new car; selfie; construction in progress; flower; cat; food. It is a great camera. I wish I had been able to use it diving. It is certainly more versatile than my iPhone. Punchline? I’d do it again.
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.
Focus would be helpful. I learn from imperfection. The background is often ignored in favor of the subject. Distracting elements will sink you every time. The last thing I check before pressing the shutter is my background. Simply moving a few degrees will change the mood. And, it would help if the camera focused on my main subject. Autofocus is too easy. And, I remain ever hopeful it will compensate for my laziness. Eh?! Otherwise it wouldn’t be lessons to learn.
So much to say, I could write an essay or an editorial. No! It’s not my mission…
We buried Ray (next to Patch) in a box shipped with sheep fleece. Smell? The cats loved boxes – to climb/play in them. And, Ray had a favorite gerbil/toy and I had recently found it behind a cabinet. He would hide his toys and not tell us so I could retrieve it for him. Ray was so happy to have played with it again. Mike brought over a rose. We (God) had a special sunset that day. The ceremony in the backyard was simple – Ray in a packing box with his gerbil. Grief, grieving, it’s a funny thing. We miss that little cat so much. Cats grieve too. Yes, that’s Nutley with the sad sad eyes. He misses his brother. We are hugging Nutley extra close.
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.
I came across some images in a catalog in a place I have not looked in a very long time. Are you following me? We were in Washington DC during the cherry blossoms and wandered into an orchid exhibit. Nice! I am frankly pleased at the detail I captured in the orchid. Technology continues to improve. I can now easily mask and enhance subject or sky. Too technical? It doesn’t matter. Amazing things can be done now in editing. It’s simple enough for someone as lazy as me. The edits are hardly noticeable. I’m better than I was and didn’t even know it. Hint: you do need a good image to start with. Oh, bother.
Wildlife. Animals (or insects) pop up during our travels. Some wild, some domesticated, I get the shot as the opportunity presents. We chanced upon a photographer doing a full on shoot of this dog on the ratty couch. Dog? Couch? The poor pup was totally bored and uncooperative. No posing, no looking at the camera, no interest in the least. Food! A treat! Distraction! Nope, none, nada. It was about as dismal as the couch. I kept my mouth shut and we quietly left. Photographer? She had the gear; she was mounted on a tripod… Um, close, but that ain’t how I’d do it. (See: I kept my mouth shut.)
You are out all day and nothing particulars stands out. Later on, you peruse the shots you took and there are a few that … well, good. I knew we were coming back on the same road… Luckily, the pictures were still there waiting. And then, you find stuff, you were not expecting. Of course. It’s not perfect but….
By now I can be accused of pushing an old joke… too far. Museums. Irreverence. Heinous. Not quite. You would not call (my composite) art too? I’ve been at it for a while. Don’t ask me to collect the past examples. Fun? You bet. The essential element? A tolerant wife. It’s collaboration. After all Colleen took all those pics of me. Ok! That said, we found a typo in one of the exhibits: 2923, wrong date. We are still masking up. That’s a mirror – reflection, not doorway.
Droopy spider web? It seems in the morning mist/fog with the water droplets upon it, a spider web will droop. Who knew? There was a big old hairy ugly spider who had this web. Along came an albino juvenile. It just happened to wander into my picture. As you can see the web is not so architecturally symmetrically accurate. Should we be disappointed? Or, all spiders are not OCD.
As long as we are talking mist and water, can you appreciate the small droplets and detail at the end of this hibiscus flower? Macro photography opened up a new world for me this summer.
Too many images, too little time/space to post.
I hate bugs. It doesn’t stop me from photographing them. The clouds do not form up every day for pictures just for me. It is nice when they do. And, sometimes I close my eyes. Or, I just press the shutter and hope for the best. Yeah, scientific. There are days when you press that camera shutter and you have no idea what will come in the edits. Yes, I’m laughing too. I will never admit it. Skill! But, I’m thinking horseshoes. Close! It’s enough. Oh! The green bug(?); he got away from the spider. Close call!
90/90 – temp/humidity. Enough said. We got corn! I guess some of the bird seed germinated. Yup! A single corn stalk grows in the midst of one of the containers. Ha ha! Veggies? This is the garden harvest. It’s going to sauce. We are unable to keep up with the cherry tomato crop. The peppers? Four months of diligent watering and all I got were a handful. I have to rethink what I am planting. The flowers are fading. Bugs are all around. I like detail. It’s time to prepare for fall.
It is part of my life. We live near it. I have always lived near to water. Even in the Middle East, the Red Sea was moments away from me. I have a water view and the beach is less than a mile from home. Water can be subtle or bold in my images. It always adds interest. Underwater (diving), yes, but I tend to avoid the pouring rain. I’m so lucky, yes, so lucky.
The Delaware State Fair. I suppose there are no surprises if you have been to a state fair. They are about vanilla as it gets – produce, farm animals, a carnival, and the rides. The players vary but the theme is the same. How does one judge the watermelons? Size, taste, color? Carnival food? Always entertaining. Ride? – the Enterprise, it spins you vertically; it spins you horizontally: then you throw up. Fun! The sheep? One gave Colleen the worst case of poison ivy – ever! The sheep rubs against the plant; the oil gets on the wool; Colleen pets the wool; worst case scenario! (No. No picture!) But, do you see the guy on the unicycle?
If you have followed… you probably didn’t… Colleen has a cousin – Barb, no names please – who cut down my passion fruit vine last fall. I thought it dead. It’s seemed a logical conclusion after it was cut to the ground. No!! Resurrected! It grew back. Good news! …especially for Barb. My chain saw rental is still good at Home Depot. Zzzzz!
Onward to the art museum. Yes, we still go. Some is good. Some is not so good. Hey! I’m allowed to not like some things. I don’t argue if you don’t like broccoli…. So… we got Norman (Rockwell) or “Mother and Child.” Yes, I’m still laughing (whilst) at the museum. They let me do my own staging. It’s art too?! Eh? Diane? (Once more – I admonish you not to try this in a moving car – bridge shot – one handed driving ~70mph. It’s not supposed to work.)
What do you notice? Detail! Detail! DETAIL! Japanese beetles humping? Spider web. It’s tough to focus on the darn web. Hard! What do you see (lily stamens)? It’s subtle but different. And, subtle makes all the difference. There’s a fine line between oooh and aaah. Simple? Sometimes less is more. I just ended up with stuff I thought I would share. It’s just a drop of water.
…feel like you been behind bars? Covid’s done?! Summer convention: Colleen’s family has been coming to the beach forever. Decades and decades. I am new to the mix. Fun?! There is a strange dynamic. The older generation is gone now. This is Colleen’s family – her siblings and her daughter and grand kids – mixed in with her favorite cousin. There are always the missing persons, who could not be present. And, there are complex group dynamics in play. If you look closely at the ‘bee sting’ shot you can see who’s constipated – Bruce. (From here, the text was heavily edited to protect the innocent.) Ha? Eh? Me? Don’t burn your bridges – nuke ’em.
Neurosurgeons are collectively super-conservative and stuffy. At our national convention a well known and well regarded colleague got up from the head table at the annual banquet. He pronounced the group to be staid and boring. And, then he proceeded to hang a spoon from his nose. (Bruce was president of his state medical society?) I have taken this to heart. Don’t ever think yourself too important. Stay humble and keep a sense of humor about you. Get a grip! Laugh, live, love. We are all here for a short time.
Correct etiquette is to say nothing. No one’s precious feelings will be hurt – to which I say, speak. I certainly have and there are those who wish I had not. Stories spin, the truth dies with you. It was never in my nature be quiet and proper. I never embraced the “big lie.” At least my point of view is not still a mystery.
Nikon just released the Nikon Z fc camera. It is a brother to the Nikon Z50. Of course, I just gifted a Z50 to Jules and family – and a new model/comparable is released a few weeks later. My (bad) timing is so impeccably typical!! Alas! Drat! Double drat! Laugh – all of you out there – at me, who once again did not get the 411. But, who is this ‘retro’ style camera for? Is its appeal to the old film photographer in me? Ummm… does Nikon know that the last film I shot was in 2004. Film was gone not long after. And, soon enough, all the photographers who shot film will follow. It is comparable to making a Ford Model T for the masses. I think if Ford did not do it, Nikon is heading up a dead end too. But, then again, that’s my opinion. I laud the idea and admire the camera. Right now, I am thinking of my next new iPhone. Hmmm, do I care about the meal I’m eating or the pan in which I cooked the meal?
Depending on punctuation this can be a command or interrogative. To those who follow this blog, it doesn’t matter. You are already included in being notified about my posts. If someone does a basic search on WordPress, I am not immediately noticeable. ?? I don’t list myself in category or tag under “photography.” I did a casual search today and realized the omission. Now, begins the experiment to find out if this blog is noticed more. The rest – tags and category – may not have much relevance beyond letting me search for older posts. Let us see.?!
I could hardly be accused of being cramped. I keep saying there are too many images and not enough time. The cameras give me technically sound shots. I used to shoot 36 images (film) per day. Now, it can easily be 700 images (digital) in a single outing. Philosophically, less is more?! One image? Sure. But, it’s so much more illustrative (fun!) to share the backstory (ha!) on what’s doing.
Look to home when you need inspiration? My cat Feather has replaced Peas in the basket in order to occupy space and ambush Peas (in her former favorite spot). After Barb cut down my passion fruit vine, the new one and its flower is a surprise brilliant red. Sometimes things happen for a reason (photo op). Meanwhile, you will see Chestertown illustrated. It was a charming town, an over the top excellent find by Colleen, who loves history, shopping, eating, art, and above all, all things “charming.” We could not have had a better day with our clothes on. (Shhh, she wasn’t sure about the dress length; she wore shorts beneath.)
I did a composite of three images, it is obvious if you know what to look for. Or, it is obvious if you notice something is not quite right. I will explain. Look closely and you will see three distinct levels of focus: front, middle, and rear. And in between each zone, the flower is out of focus: soft. It’s subtle but distinct. It gives the full view of the flower. If you didn’t notice then my manipulation was successful in illustrating the flower. Me? I noticed it was unnatural right away. Then it took a moment to realize the explanation. The macro lens I used has no depth of field whatsoever. It is the nature of the lens. And, in this case, it illustrates the concept of depth of field nicely. Confused? No worries. You can appreciate the image without understanding the technical details.
I need(ed) a kick in the pants. Boredom? Stagnation? Progression? Rut? I started taking flower pictures in earnest last summer. Sure, I have tons of flower pictures from the past. Yawn! But, last summer I started paying attention to the little details. I discovered I had been missing a lot. This spring I convinced myself to get a macro lens. I had a macro lens. It was an old clunky mechanical macro lens, now decades old. There were a myriad of reasons to justify the purchase of a new toy. I am acquisitive and have been all my life. Why not indulge? I did. I got a spiffy full frame mirrorless camera body to go with it. Don’t ask. Boys and toys. It has been a game changer. I am, for the moment, shooting exclusively, extensively, with the new camera and macro lens. Better images? Sure. You can also do the job with about any other equipment. But, like cars, some are better suited to the task. Ease of use and consistent results help. It is similar to the improvement of my dive photos after I started using a dedicated underwater housing and a flash strobe. Unless you are a gearhead, you will not likely understand. Maybe you will nod indulgently like Colleen. Part of what I love is that she (Colleen) understands too well my exuberant enthusiasm. Her spinning wheels are much larger (size) examples how much fun it is to have different tools for the same task. Why use different spinning wheels? Each (wheel) brings something different and, so, brings joy to the task at hand. I like different cameras (not too many) for what they can do to get the image I have visualized. I firmly believe that iPhone is not the best tool for most situations.
These are random observations today. 3% is the amount of lemon juice in this container of frozen treat. Two servings at 130 cal for a total of 290 cal in the container. Yeah, do the math. And, two plus two…. Oh, 3% juice? It’s sugar water! Lemons are not naturally sweet. It’s the flower of a dill plant. Who cares? And, look at that fat ass. Sorry, not PC. The pic is to illustrate two – count ‘em – phones. Matching cheeks? Ooops! Phones? Was the daughter embarrassed? This was a random capture. So, the image left me wondering too. Sometimes things just don’t make a whole lot of sense. Tillie? Eyes torqued and tongue out? I don’t know either.