My writing comes in waves… of inspiration. Really? Am I inspired? Or do I just have lots of thoughts and stories to tell?
Scotland. Did we eat here? Nice play on words. I don’t think we ate there. But? We did eat in a Thai place in Inverness… was this it? Sheep, especially black faced ones are notoriously hard to image. Any backlighting kills detail in the face. Forget focusing on the eyes. The moon? You cannot shoot the moon on “auto” settings. The auto ISO will overexpose the bright moon every time. All manual, I don’t do it often. Clouds?! Made it more interesting? The Scots say takeaway not takeout.
You go to bed, wake up, the calendar changes, and it is a new year. It doesn’t feel much different. There is promise and hope. A new beginning. A new slate. Reset. Restart. Do over. But, I liked the last one. I like being retired and with someone I have found and love dearly. Can we just replay the last one once again? Wistful. Promise. Hope. I know it will be all there inside bringing on the new. Happy New Year.
With or without
I tinker. Don’t you? Picture? With or without moon? Person? (Colleen). Counterpoint?
I dunno. It ain’t a perfect world. Sometimes my subjects cooperate and can be moved about. Sometimes it’s just not that simple. And I suppose it is also a matter of preference. You can go both ways. Sure. But at some point you must choose. Or not.
Not! Life is never the same. We finished a kitchen renovation. What happens if you don’t like the color? Now, for the backsplash – I was gonna tackle that job. Experience? None! Ha ha. Confidence or stupidity? Easy! Except if, the tiles are not fitting the wall height or width, and, there are outlets to cut around. Oh boy! The weather! It’s always fun. Clouds, color, the moon all provide ample opportunity to capture a good image. Why are there always telephone poles in my images? Flowers?! Too numerous to count. While renovating we had to eat out. Eh? You know who likes to eat out!
We had an interesting night. It was dusk into night. We were traveling home. The moon rose thru the clouds. The clouds were the same color as the sky. There were no clouds? I have never seen this. It was neat. We never did stop the car. I shot thru the windshield while paused at traffic lights. Nuts! We got to the beach. Colleen calls it moon path. I got it. It was not so easy. The night was dark. Of course. The settings were hard to adjust. I used manual to choose. Oh drat! I got the better shots on auto. Hey! It was an interesting night.
I garden in containers. We get a maximum show of color for months. This year I was late because I had an injury. But we finally got things planted. I try for the usual flowers and then go for ones that are good photo subjects. Of course! Last summer I got a macro lens. Close ups! Now, we’re talking! Goose family? Pigeons? Dove? There are lots of chicken houses in DE. I was surprised to find pigeons? Huh?! I cannot find any reference to the place on the internet. Go figure. My cats are appreciative. Some red grass that I plant is fair game. Yes, my cats eat grass. No matter. I get good photo ops all summer long. I cruise the garden a couple times a day. Aside from straight on shots, I seek detail and images that are less common than catalog view. There is a flower that looks like the Rolling Stones tongue logo… I had it in my pictures last summer. So far, I have not found the flower again. But, there will be color! We will have a gorgeous garden and no one else will worry over the details. My trusty macro lens will find plenty to shoot.
Blood moon – lunar eclipse. I am a failed Astro photographer. My attempt with a telescope ended in a return package to Amazon. It has rained for more than a week straight. Fog was present the past several days. A miracle occurred and the clouds parted at the appointed hour. I actually had fair detail of the moon in my camera. I was deceived. I thought I saw partial cloud cover as the eclipse covered part of the moon in the lower left quadrant. Then?!?!! My exposures showed the “blood moon!!”
Hey! It ain’t great. But I got an image (s). I shot at ISO 51200, 1/15, f6.3 400mm. Do you care? Do you understand the settings? I was surprised at the image quality myself. I was surprised to have anything on the sensor to review after I pressed the shutter. Cloud cover? Nope?! I did it! I can say that I did. My image was comparable to those in a casual internet search. The best news, this was my image. May 15.
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.
Random today… selection of pics. I have evolved from a single pic and story. Too many images, too little time. Good? Cats are our – Colleen’s and mine – life these days. We share much love with them. Yes… she loves to eat out, water view preferable. A frog, a duck, the sky, the moon, a grasshopper, all are fair game. Imerfect, (sic) true. Ha ha. I’m glad to have had the opportunities. A single shot/picture? Maybe once again, someday, but, not today.
In a rut
I can hear Carol – “…enough cats already” And, “eight is enough!” I’m shooting the same things over and over as when I was diving the Red Sea. Enough fish… hey! I have a camera near at hand. This is the subject material that presents itself to my lens. I am lazy. We don’t get out enough. My bad. Colleen wants to go around anytime anywhere. We got a lot of “going around” to make up for. When do you see a bed pan with a chimney? The moon is not an easy subject, but, it shows up. Telephone poles always seem to be close by when you want to shoot the perfect sunset. I love my cats, too. They are just too cute sometimes. So, what to shoot? I hope travel restrictions end soon. We would like to go again. I am, indeed, a lazy photographer. I shoot what’s available. No doubt. But, I do try to shoot each and every day. Hey! It’s a hobby, not work. Happy and hobby have lots in common.
F-stop, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, focus, compensation….the eyes roll back and the head nods, asleep. Yeah, it’s partly why I am a nerd. … and wannabe photographer. Know your instrument (camera). It helps. The camera sensor – digital – is an entirely different thing from film. I don’t shoot often in low low light. The crescent moon was in the dark of pre-dawn. The morning star? There’s a challenge. It is just a dot. And, vertical angel light at sunrise? That’s a first for me to see. You all (audience) are lucky. You just see the images. Are you… seeing? It ain’t easy to capture what most folks just glance and then pass over. Been there, done that. Ha! There’s a lot that goes on before you get to publishing.
Me? I am no great photographer. Pshaw! (now, there’s a word I never use in a sentence) It helps to understand your tools (camera) and to be able to recall those instructions in the manual you never read till you needed them.
… to post? There is a fine line in editing. I see things and cannot quite get it into my camera. At least there is something. Good? Almost? I’m just feeling ok to have anything? The moon at dawn was a challenge. The clouds covered up the moon almost as soon as I got my camera out. I like the pink glow. Close, but not quite exquisite. Sometimes, things look good and then in the edit you realize that focus was not dead on. Or, the color was not quite what you had hoped. The moon was out again a couple days later. What a difference. And … not in such a good way. Maybe I should leave nature alone and go back to people for a while.
It seems the beginning of my catalog has some highlights – shots over the years that were “keepers.” At least that is my opinion. They were pretty much unplanned shots that turned out surprisingly well. You may readily disagree. I like them. A very early effort was the child at a street market in London. The shot in the pool was a blurred image – wrong exposure, nice shot. Moonrise? It ain’t easy without adjusting the exposure. Motion blur (waves), moon detail, not bad. Wedding? I was a guest. It was a “grab” shot. The couple enlarged and kept it as a highlight. Panning – I learned with a San Francisco cable car. Reading about it is one thing; I gotta do it in order for the lesson to stick. Candid family? There are shots, and, there are shots that make you laugh out loud. Exhausted? Or, no turkey, please! Jules did not cook the meal… What else to say? I simply stuck the camera out the window and pressed the shutter once. Surprise!
Why couldn’t it be rolling pins… that I/we collect? I never considered masks.?! And, well, I should not! No! No no. We simply are out of wall space. Oh well, time to reinvent myself (ourselves) once more. These masks are from Mexico. I bet you could tell. Masks are ingrained in many cultures around the world. These masks tell a story and are full of stories about the ceremony and how they evolved. You can see primitive culture and the Spanish influence all wrapped up and melded together. Symbolism is heavy. Top left – Moor/Chinese influence ?? go figure. You can readily see Hispanic influence. Snakes? They are not ‘garden of Eden’ evil, but are water sign. Rain dance! Me? It’s another thing to eye more closely when we go thru and antique store. Gee! Can we just get one? NO!!!
Non sequitur: driving to the museum lecture we were treated to a spectacular sunset all the way up the road. It was gone by the time we arrived. Note: crescent moon over the parking lot.
… uninspired. I have not added to the posts for a few days. After the Maine trip I have been lax. I think this is Maine too, but, I am too lazy to search the database. Another outing in a restaurant. We were searching for a suitable place and ended up in a hotel. No! We never do hotels unless absolutely pushed. But this was a restaurant hidden in a hotel posing as a stand alone joint. It was ok. But then it was a hotel. There is something about institutional food like a cafeteria is always different than a free-standing restaurant. The food was forgettable. Take no chances, get something familiar. You can’t go too wrong. On this occasion we ate and fortified ourselves for the trip back to the place we were staying.
No one could accuse me of holding back nowadays. I just don’t go all out too often. I apologize for the slang given that there are a good many people from around the world who look in. But, once in a while I… Certainly, I spoil Colleen. In this moment, not too often at all, I indulged a whim. I discovered after my recent purchase of the Nikon Z5, that the Nikon zoom 80-400mm lens (I own) did not autofocus when attached the new model body Z5. Long story short, I went to eBay. Of course, they have the Nikon model G that does the job. It is at these times that I have been extremely lucky to get (used) just what I wanted at half price compared to new. The lens arrived in pristine condition. Damn. I was so lucky. My old lens was soft now. ??? I cannot explain except to say that the images were slightly less than tack sharp. Now, the problem is solved. Yeah, it cost $$$. But then, when do I indulge? Don’t answer. Colleen is getting a new spinning wheel… Are pictures better with the new lens? Ah? Sort of. A poor workman blames his tools. I have the tool to become a better workman. Had I but taken a few moments, my trigger happy shots would have been much better. I know this and you would too if you know what I know about fixing things. For instance, the moon is over-exposed; go to manual exposure. I was just too excited (lazy) to make the adjustments. Flog me. My bad. (more slang) I was just being indulgent. Now! I can’t wait to get back to the powwow.
Live life? Or, record it? Dave has an iPhone. He does not travel with a camera, not even a point and shoot. He takes fantastic pictures with his phone. It records the memories of his myriad travels. I, record everything from the mundane to the weird. There is some sublime? Mostly, I photograph what is around me. Memory fades, images remain a bright and firm reminder of what I passed. Two points of view. I wish Dave appreciated my point and recorded his travels more. In contrast, he has lived a lifetime of experiences in recent years that few have achieved. Go for it, live life to its fullest. Savor without stopping to make a record every ten feet.
Lighthouse? What lighthouse? Which? Dave embarked on cross country bike trip with a “just bought” used bike, without a plan. Me, I shoot oddities: spider webs, the moon in the clouds at night, sunset where I find it, and graphic patterns of everyday life. Memory, blogs, travel, it’s all downstream. Does it fade?
When this post publishes, Colleen and I will be on our first extended travel since Covid. And, yes, I will be recording the memories of our trip.
Okay! So, Colleen tried to buy me a telescope for Xmas. She spent big $$$$ and ordered a special camera ready telescope after much research, much angst, and after consulting with Liz, our family astronomer. I have dabbled, miserably, in some astrophotography. With anticipation and then great disappointment (Colleen’s), the telescope never shipped, never arrived. We saved big $$$$. Colleen cried inconsolably. Everyone knows it is impossible to get me a present. I tend to buy whatever I want. So, there is no wont in my house.
Amazon prime came to our house – inadvertently. Amazon prime day had a sale on beginner telescopes. The rest, as they say, is history. The learning curve is high. First and foremost is light pollution. I discovered the technical limitations of attaching a Nikon camera to a Celestron telescope. Focus in the dark was dismal. The earth moves at about 400 meters/sec. I thought diving was challenging? The stars are dots of light – pinholes in black paper.
My point and shoot Canon got better focus of the moon than the spiffy telescope. Risk/benefit, or, bang for your buck?; I chose the camera. The stars are not a subject I will pursue. Amazon gave me a refund. End of story.
I am unable to deliver to the monitor, the subtle color and detail I see in real life. It makes me inadequate as a photographer. I am working to correct this. Meanwhile, the moon is in partial crescent and the morning star is above. Which? Dunno. I admit the morning star is nothing but a small white dot. But it was dawn; the color of dawn was just rising; the elements were in alignment. What I saw was not conveyed to the camera. It was indeed a beautiful sight. Some things are too subtle for me to capture. It won’t dim my enthusiasm. Hmm, was that a pun?
A special moment can pass before you realize. Still, in that time, I think we appreciated how fortunate we were to have respite from chaos all around us. We sat. We smiled. The sun would set. The moon rose. The cats were at peace. It’s now a treasured memory, fleeting, but dearly appreciated.
I was in the closet. Don’t ask. We have a window in a closet. Would that make it a room? The window faces northwest in the direction of the Comet Neowise that was in the news. A challenge. I don’t do astrophotography. I still don’t. The weather was cloudy on most nights. Hey! It was the steamy hot part of summer. Nada! Nothing! Nuthin’! I never knew for sure if I was looking in the correct part of the sky. Urban light pollution was abundant. The effort was a miserable failure. Scary? I was in the closet and couldn’t hear Colleen calling. She nearly had a heart attack looking for me. Sorry. I came out of the closet with moon shots. (poor choice of words? Don’t ask.) Discovery?! There is a man in the moon. I have seen him. The ancients were right. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.
I got a picture of the morning star. It’s the tiny white dot in the lower right quadrant. Shooting the moon was the challenge. The dynamic range of the image overexposed the moon. I went to manual exposure, got the moon’s detail, and tried to blend it back into the photo. It’s complicated and not perfect but closer to what I saw. … sort of.
…as in under a rock. Or, how about, the moon is made of green cheese? Or, there are no aliens? Or, it is an alien in the great White house? You pick. I will admit I stage some of my images. It’s up to you to figure it out. I will readily admit it’s not easy to get a shot of the moon.
On the day you were born
Noa Lila was born on the 20th of January. I nearly forgot to photograph the news headline the day she was born. In Delaware the NY Times is delivered a few days late. In this case my local library had a newspaper from January 14. No good. On January 24 in the library in New Castle, I caught up to recent headlines on January 20. Newspaper? I read the internet NY Times and it is updated multiple times a day. Who reads a paper? It’s so old and out of date. Hence, the newspaper shows up at the library days later. Old news, historical interest. It is/was the news on the day you were born. It wasn’t as cool as the super blood wolf moon that night.