They brighten and cheer Colleen’s day when she sees them! She points to them with glee and enthusiasm. I look. They look like daffodils to me. What’s the difference? And the plant APP says narcissus. Correct! All one and the same, they are related to one another and not distinguished to well from one another. Really?! Well, that is what is says on the internet. The picture/example they showed had two toned pettals and otherwise looked like a daffodil. Okay! This is Colleen’s jonquil and I’m stickin’ with her identification. But she was pointing to a solid one color yellow flower that looks all the world like a daffodil to me. Hey! It is.
Time, distance, money. How do you juggle the variables? We drove 500 miles to get a free haircut…
Spring was early and the Bradford pears were in bloom. Pink flowering trees… and the ride home was a white knuckle ride thru a slushy wintery mix. Colleen didn’t know whether to scream or take the wheel. Me? I had two hands on the wheel. When that happens you know it’s a serious weather day.
The microscope? Colleen and I had parallel lives. We orbited in the same solar system. We were in the same classroom from 3rd grade to 6th. … the same Junior High School… the same parties… same dance group… and so on and on. We also both had a Gilbert microscope. It cost about $25 in the early ‘60’s. New! Now, an antique? It was $35 without much of the bling that accompanied the new set. It was a sorry product being sold way over cost and value. The same microscope! We both had one! It warms the heart! I later got a real one for med school. It was a requirement. We bought it special on a trip to Hong Kong. A Leica! Everyone else had a Nikon. Somehow, I felt I should have had a Nikon too. Keeping up with the Joneses? Colleen remembers her microscope fondly. I still have that Leica, somewhere… I just wanna know… how is it that I did not know Colleen and remember her fondly until so many years later…. if I had but one regret…
I got a catalog. It has 500k images. That is a lot? I rate images and at least 133k have a 2 star rating or higher. The first and last are represented. It has been a journey. Quite the journey. Life changing?! I daresay there is much to come. It amazes me. I have been fortunate. Life has a way of moving in strange and mysterious ways. All true.
Right now I am in a good place. Best ever. It is like a dream you do not want to awake from. The beginning of this catalog was but a mere couple decades back.
Did I mention to you… “I love my wife.”
the state or situation of being alone: she savored her few hours of freedom and solitude
synonyms: loneliness, solitariness, remoteness, isolation, seclusion
Far from loneliness!… more like contentment.
I never sit! It’s not in my DNA. Poor Colleen! The chairs beckoned on this fine fall day. Clouds in the distance, sun overhead, the chairs beckoned, we sat. Me? I did! The warmth of the sun, the one you love, gentle breeze, sounds of the sea, call of the gulls – idyllic. You can be remote and all alone but not alone. Solitude is not so bad sometimes. It defied description on this day.
What do you shoot?
I got about eleven cameras in rotation. I shoot regularly with four right at this moment. Other cameras are in closets or on the shelves having outlived their usefulness giving way to the newest latest greatest technologies. I have several iPhones. Only one is in current use. So?
The question arises: what camera do you use? It depends on the circumstance. For events like an Indian Powwow I want to use the “big gun” and the “big lens.” It’s nice to have choices. I keep a camera on my desk: clouds, moon…. I have a camera on the dashboard of the car. You never know. Colleen is a good sport about taking pics rather than my handling the camera while driving. Good! I have a camera in the dining room to get grab shots of the cats when they are frantically trying to be cute or to avoid me. I use a macro lens for my flower garden and otherwise I am zoom lens on pretty much everything. I tend to the maximum zoom. So, why not a prime zoom at that focal length? TMI!
It was a simple question. I download to five redundant external drives under the assumption that everything electronic breaks down – eventually.
What do you shoot? What do I shoot? Mainly it breaks down to fitting the camera to the need. It is nice to have choices.
Now, to wives? There is only one!! One! One and only?!!! Different day different camera, but only one wife!
How long is mourning? Not a day goes by lately that I don’t miss our departed Ray. I guess it was his sudden death? Nutley, his brother, is identical in photos except for the color of the fur around his neck. It’s hard to tell. Trust me. I edit and it’s hard to tell Ray from Nutley. Our other twins – Spice and Feather – are equally hard to distinguish in pictures.
Storm’s coming. Here’s a neat trick. I have trained the cats. I clap hands and say, “Go!” They trot to the door and come in off the deck. Yes!
You will notice the clip and rope around Ray’s neck. He and his brother staged frequent jailbreaks over the fence of the deck, hence, the restraint.
As I said before, we miss Ray.
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.
Wander thru my mind
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 shot 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.
One that got away
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.
Arts and crafts
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.
Summer of Reunion
…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.