It’s a long time since I knew Dave. True on so many levels.
He grew up. Did I know him as a kid? He’s an adult with a life and travels and work that I can barely follow. He has taken on many hobbies and projects known only to himself. Skateboard? He did it for a short period and then dropped it. Why? Why did he start? Why did he stop? Did he get good at it? Dunno. There’s a lot I don’t know.
I was thumbing through the catalog… I shoot flags when they present. I shoot bridges – from/in the car. We do selfies. Jump? Street photography? – selling carnival food to the extreme? And then, there is always fall – the quest for the best shot (Maine, beside a bank, a real bank, not one by the river.)
One thing leads to another. I had the girls jump. They really were thrilled to pose and to jump. They did it for a long time never seeming to tire of posing. Okay!! And the bee sting kiss? Jen spoke about the young girls doing this pose as the latest craze in phone pics. And then, she and Mike showed me. My handy dandy camera was right at hand! Yay!
I rate images with stars in Lightroom. Here are some five star images. They merit being posted alone but there are too many images. Julia taught me jump images – in Africa. I already knew, but, this was the practical application. I have seen great beauty. Maine! I lived there are few years… Some of my best fall colors come from those times. Fun?! I traveled to nearby Massachusetts for Patriot’s Day. For fun, I was (wink) nearly shot. Notice too that the reenactment soldiers turn their head when firing their muskets. It’s no wonder you could fire from point blank range and miss the target. The birds are Atlantic puffins. I paid dearly – seasick – to get to see them.
So much to say
Today: a series of non sequiturs. Colleen gets me to do things I would never and have never done before. Defrost a freezer? That is one Hell of a large ice cube! Jen looks so young (forget the focus). How do you image cataracts? What do you do while you await the bulk trash pick up for your discarded toilet? Bad pizza? We went with the granddaughters. It was in vivid retrospect how awful this chain pizza was made and tasted! Jump? Oh yeah! I discovered this loosened people up when you took a group photo. It worked! Hilarious! Lemonade stand? Not a single glass was sold to a passerby. With all the family hoovering about, would you? A ventriloquist and her dummy: he has a cellphone. That’s news! No one in the family has ever called him. No one can have his number. The ventriloquist says he’s in Witness Protection, preempting any objection. We were speechless. Of course! (I’m coarse!) He doesn’t speak. She speaks for him when they are on the phone (hers). There are multiple witnesses who attest… I did eventually defrost that freezer. (I did it again, recently.) This series of non sequiturs represents a rare family summer reunion in which most of the extended family attended. Indeed, it has been and was a rare gathering. Special?! One of a kind, probably never to be repeated. I’m not sentimental, nope, not me. But I wish it could be/were repeated. Precious pics! Which, by the way, she says she cannot see shared pics on her phone (memory full); oh, I guess witness protection went to her head. Or, did I get in her head?! (Ha ha, it’s a bad joke. …. Colleen’s gonna kill me.)
Free to be…
Out in the desert, Jules was free of her abaya – no religious police. Camels in the wild! And, sand dunes! Once you leave the big city, it is pretty remote and desolate terrain. Fun?! Adventure?! I was smart enough to bring along food and water. A good time was had by all. (No camels were injured in the making of this photo op.) So, went an adventure of our lifetime!
I’m lucky… lucky to have images that jog my memory. Pelicans? Dave was here (at the beach), with sunflowers? Jumping, I’ve been asking people to jump as an icebreaker. Philippe Halsman – look him up – was a master photographer of the “jump shot.” It always makes me smile. Photo-bombing? It’s a new term. Emma! Rory has the weight of the world on her mind. So young, you ain’t seen nutin’ yet! The summer flowers are fading. I spun the catalog to a random page. It was quite a day(back then)!
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.
Quite a summer
In sum, I found out Bruce is in WPP. If he has a sense of humor, I’ve never seen it. Look at his attempt at a “bee sting” kiss. Polar opposites, we won’t be friends anytime soon. I did not get the ‘serious’ gene. Humor is all around us. It was another summer reunion. People came and went for about three weeks. If you own a beach house, you will never lack for relatives. We had quite a group go through and sleep in all our beds. It was a very nice mishmash of relatives. All were vaccinated. The lost summer of Covid was over. Normal? Hardly. But, it was sure nice to see folks again.
I Photoshop… because, I can. Don’t you wish you could too? We have fun. It’s always about fun. And we have plenty. This the part of the collection from our Maine trip. It’s not our first time. Humor? Irreverence? Who knows? We laugh a lot. Colleen thinks I’m nuts. She’s not alone. But, she is tolerant. And, so, we laugh some more.
Art – again
We’re at it again. Art! It started with a snide comment about museums from a family member. We don’t see art. (Literally? Figuratively? It’s an oil on water kind of thing. Ooooo, there’s a pun?!) They see more. And it’s much better art (that they see). Snide? Unintentional? Our museum is quite tolerant. Don’t touch. Otherwise, do as you will. So, I jumped. Collen was beside herself. Again. And we had a wee bit of fun.
I say that I cannot draw, nor paint – well, I can paint a house. But, art? We can do art. It’s fun! …. sometimes, a bit better than just looking.
I made this
Ha ha. We are in a puzzle stage. Puzzle? Yes, we are making puzzles to pass the time. And after the last one – not pictured – (ha ha) I decided to design one myself. Online, they do everything. I found a website. They made a picture into a puzzle. It worked out as well as any other puzzle we have. Yes, it’s a flock of yellow sheep. We came across this group while traveling in Scotland. I’m not name dropping or bragging. It’s just: this is not something you see every day. In the background (did you peek?) there’s my nutty cat. He climbed to the top of the bookcase and leaped down. Ha ha, I made you peek.
How many outstanding pictures do I have? How many stories are there? At one picture a day…. one story at a time? I’ve been at it for nearly 10 years. It must be quite a collection spanning a decade of change. People come and go. Changes large and small occur. Relationships change. 2011, I was in NY working in NJ. I had rediscovered a long lost cousin, Amy. John had fallen ill. I had been in touch with Colleen to lose her again until 2014. I had never traveled to the Middle East. Scuba diving was on my bucket list. One great shot – there are so many, or, so few – or would it be an essay story of illustrations? Hey! I never work with a plan. I’m just trying to get from here to there. Where? Dunno!? I’m more of, make lemonade if you get lemons, kind of guy. Story or the image. Image or the story. It’s all good right now, in this place.
Ray Ray is a very curious cat. He’s fearless. I saw him at the top of the bookcase. It was about 8 foot up. How did he get there? I waited to see how he’d extract himself. He climbed to the ledge of the window, onto the tall clock, and then down to the sewing machine. Neat trick. Nutley bangs the kitchen cabinet doors open with his paw and sits in the back in the dark. It’s not nearly so picturesque. All I’m sayin’ is that this cat is resourceful and quite the risk taker. … kinda like the guy who feeds him. Proud!? Nah!
I have been asking groups all summer to jump. In DE it is not a native custom. So, I taught the group the secret. You raise your hands. You bend your knees. It looks like you are a star. It works. My own kids taught me. I did not discover the trick by myself. Well, here was an early try. Disco Saturday night fever?
When I go to a tourist attraction I do my best to avoid the crowd. An oxymoron? Well, I do my best not to have people cluttering my picture. I can do this for the most part. But the time to be there is offseason. When? Not April. But December works. The only thing is that it is cold! Your choice. I was happier cropping out tourists in April.
Quintessential shot? It’s a big hole in the earth. You really can’t do it justice shooting from the rim. There are lots of photobooks in the bookshop. Sunrise/sunset shots are nice. I’m still searching for a better shot. Otherwise, pick one at random. They are all spectacular.
Jump? This is a trick my kids taught me. You look like you are jumping out over the Grand Canyon. Isn’t that grand? Bend your knees. You look higher. (They neglected to mention that part.) And you need a willing photographer. Colleen does not like heights. She objected (strenuously) all the while she was shooting. Hey! I was the test dummy.
On the edge
My kids taught me this trick. Jump. If you frame it correctly it appears you are jumping over the canyon. It’s a nice trick. It scares Colleen – a lot! She doesn’t care for heights and won’t venture near the edge. I do it and she will at least take the picture – sometimes. Sometimes she refuses. Those times you will never see what I tried/wanted to do. Grand Canyon – silly trick in progress. Then someone told me that people fall into the canyon every year. No, you say?! Yes? They do! And someone fell the very day we visited. We did not see nor hear of the accident. The South rim is very long and one cannot put up barriers at every possible point. You are on a cliff and can indeed fall. If you are lucky you will survive. And if you are smart you will not fall. Me? I’m careful. I take an occasional risk. I have not fallen. I hope I never will.
If you’re ever in Paris do stop at Angelina’s. Maybe it’s still there? It was in the guide book. I don’t read guide books. Someone else in our group had this place on the “to do” list. It is the home of the “Mont Blanc.” That would be a meringue cookie over a chestnut cream covered in chocolate or maybe it’s the other way ‘round. But the total package is worth the trip. I still dream about it. There is nothing like it in America. Chestnuts generally are not considered too much except roasted in NYC in the winter in Central Park. I’ve had a connection to chestnuts since I grew up in West Virginia and my mother used them in chestnut stuffing of her own concoction. I still make my stuffing that way. I’ve got the recipe (Mont Blanc) but it’s something you dream about but never get around to making yourself. I shall continue to pine. I hope Angelina is still there.
The second image is an extra. My edit came across the contents of the hotel safe in Paris. What would you keep safe? Stuffed animals and framed prints. Of course! My kids?
Fun, joy, innocence. There aren’t too many unguarded joyful moments. Kids have them all the time. And maturity and life sucks it out of you. (oh, look, Susan, Dave has a Tyler Place t-shirt)
As I write someone from the mobile phone company has called my cellphone to inform me that I just won 200,000SAR. Fantastic. Here’s how to collect….scam me once shame on me….They scammed Jules. She had an offer of winning $800 but had to respond instantly. Her mom got involved and helped. They both contacted the scam artist who sold them on a trip to Florida to see real estate. $800 was theirs. The cost was $200 deposit – refundable when they took the tour. Yeah, gullible, silly, all – and no one ever went to Florida to see real estate.
My attorney sent me a plaintiff email that he was stuck in London. He’d lost his ID, passport and all money. He asked me to forward some funds. Indeed, it was so sad. I called him at home to let him know I’d send him money. Hacked!
David tried to scam me. He called me at work. “Dad, I got a low cost trip to Madrid. I have to act immediately.” “What did your mother say?” Right, no permission, this was right after they blew up the Madrid train station some years back. So, off to Jamaica. Three amigos, living on an extreme budget. I fund education not fun. I’m having office hours, and David calls me from Jamaica. “We were in a bar and Ben fell off a stool and cut his neck…” Um, yup, I’m a surgeon. But there’s not much I can do 2000 miles away. Bar fight! Everyone in the office laughed at my being so gullible as to think the kid fell off a stool. Actually, true, the poor kid passed out from dehydration. Budget! They were rationing fluids. Afraid to drink water they were on a Coke a day. While Ben was in the hospital, the other two gave up and posed as registered guest in the hotel next door. They ate the buffet dinners until Ben got out and that scam didn’t work anymore.
My kids are all grown up now. And here was one of the last times I was together with them. They have husband and girlfriend now. This was the last of innocence together. It comes and goes with hardly a notice. Then, you realize that it happened and will never be repeated. It’s a bittersweet realization. All grown up…
Ok. Why not? The kids visited in a whirlwind in 2013 December. It was a visit filled with tension. Too little time and all at the seemingly last minute. The visa to visit was not confirmed until almost the day they traveled. The Saudi government does not grant visitor visas. And the kids were over 18 years old. So it was not so easy to apply and required a visit to the Saudi government office. Then the process started again in the US where additional paperwork required more difficulty.
Old city, al Balud, the area is now designated a heritage area. They are actually preserving history…just in time. (To digress: they still toss glass bottles out their car windows on the highway.) The kids are here just before renovation has begun. We goofed around. I inserted myself in the pic. You can see that I was learning about bending your knees. Remember it. It’s a good tip.
Jules had been in Africa teaching in a remote school in Namibia. It was the perfect excuse to visit Africa for the first time. It’s funny because we did not visit her in Namibia but instead were in Tanzania where she had not been either. She revived my memory of jumping. So good. On a hillside in the evening in remote Africa in a Children’s Village there we be and the moment is memorialized.
The old man can jump too. It took a few more years to realize that bending your knees makes for a much better jump effect. In fact it is only a recent realization when the kids were in Saudi in 2013.
This is an image from a dim and distant post. Remember the wedding jump? It was only a couple days ago. Cousins. Two sets. There are more cousins. My kids are the oldest. We were spontaneously goofing around. They all lifted off. It was one of the first times I used this. And one of the last was at the wedding. Hey! It still works. I’ll keep it in mind in the future.
What do you do after “The Shirt?”
This is not my first jump shot and won’t be the last. In fact this post has several. Ha ha. I think I’ve lost it. Giddy! Truly. But how can you be serious jumping? Jules more or less introduced me to it once again when we traveled in Africa. And I pull it out periodically. Day after – the morning after – the bride and groom actually got some sleep. The party was shortened by the rain…not dampened but surely shortened by a steady rain as the reception ended. Jeff shot the “Jump.” He kind of missed.
But hey! Later on I got a shot at the top of the hill. That view you see behind Dave and Josh is the Pacific Ocean and the idyllic view that the wedding backdrop was set against. It wasn’t even 24 hours. Perfect sun drenched scenery with a California sunset was only a mere day off. Yup missed by that much. I hate it when the weatherman is right.
We forgot to get a shot of the family. Yes, we got the formals. But Jules felt bad she missed the images with the rest of the immediate family which is not too large. I actually had to instruct this group how to jump effectively. If you just jump, it doesn’t work well. Huh? You got to bend your knees. Yes! Then it looks like you got some real air time. See! Works. They got it in one lesson! But not in the first shot. Priceless!
‘Cause there are two. Be patient I’m only doing one post at a time. Two – count ‘em two. I’m a gluten. Punishment? The first was staged in a kitchen then moved to a second kitchen and meanwhile I stayed at an inn far from the kitchen. Get it? I got it! – as in shot. That’s the next post. This one was about the kitchen in which the turkey was baked. And it was fully stuffed too. So think of a small galley kitchen. And then you don’t know the ingredients, spices, pantry, pots, pans, knives, or anything of how temperamental the oven might be. Think disaster. Nope, didn’t happen. Wait for the next post. This one is about how tiny the kitchen was. I’ve cooked in small kitchens. And maybe I told you about the Thanksgiving dinner in 2006 where as we sat to eat, a set of wild turkeys crossed the yard in front of the window before us. Magical! No, this was about the things people will do if you ask. We were talking about jump photos and Richard Avedon who popularized them in his portrait work. Yup, Lee jumped. The secret for someone who can’t jump is to fold your knees. You look so much more athletic! No, I did not think this up myself. My kids told me. They were embarrassed at how bad I looked in their pictures. Humbling, ain’t it?
How small? I had to park the turkey out of the oven on the washer. No space. Someone was doing apple pie in a toaster oven. I’ve never seen that before and Jane admitted it she’d never tried it either. The pie was gone on the first round of dessert.
Jump – Dog
Timing. It’s crucial for action shots. You cannot depress the shutter and the motor drive will just get you an actual perfect shot. Nope. It’s done by old fashioned work. Oh, luck too. Ha! Yes, luck too. But mostly it is anticipating the action and then firing the shutter at the precise moment. It’s helps if you visualize and then plan your shot. Or, you just press the shutter and let fly. Didn’t I just tell you that doesn’t work?
I did it. Sure. I’m good. But Jules did too. Ah! She’s as good.