Word and Image

Posts tagged “People

Do what?!

I casually offered. They accepted. You learn new things every day. How about the cat tower? Hmmm… I had not thought about that nor had ever tried it. Cooperation? Hardly?!! Mike and Jen thought (innocently) they could hold all four cats for a single take. A single picture? They have seen Colleen’s pics. We did it with seven cats across the table. Easy! About 101 pictures later… They had great ideas and we improvised as we went along. Nut crackers, cat tower, oh my! Done! I’d do it again… no cats were harmed… a few scratches later…


How many

You would think I am obsessed with numbers.

At an event, my attention is upon the action. I try to capture the event as it unfolds. I do not know the order or what will come next. I am alert to random movements and out of the ordinary motion. I am looking at color and composition putting it all together to try to capture a “winner” “keeper” of an image. Editing comes later. Which one? We love all of our children. Eh?

How many is enough? And, “you already have that shot….” Subtle differences. One shot would have been enough. Sure! But, which one?

Digital memory has given me so many options. I could certainly afford all the film I needed. But these days digital memory is so easy. Yes, there is some skill involved in knowing when to press the shutter. I am happy to say that I consider myself above average. Not great. Not bad. Does it matter? It’s for me. And my most adoring audience, my muse – Colleen – loves my posts.


Strictly speaking

Diving is an activity limited to a few fortunate people in Saudi Arabia. Once again it occurs behind closed gated compound walls. It is the Red Sea for goodness sake! Nope. Not allowed! Somewhere else I described my encounter with the police and the order of the blue thumb.

Women are distinctly a minority. They must be covered at all times – unless you are behind closed doors outside of the view of the religious police. Lessons. Our surgical assistants all received lessons compliments of the orthopedic chief surgeon. There is much beauty and wonder beneath the sea. My friend/dive buddy related to me recently that much of the reef has been destroyed. Once again ignorance – lack of common respect for the fragility of nature was in play. His beloved reef was gone.


Disconnected

Myelomenigocele. It is a neurosurgically treated birth disorder that is largely preventable by Folic acid (vitamin) taken during pregnancy. I had not seen a case in decades until I worked in Saudi Arabia. I lived in a walled compound with guards. The poverty rate? The government hides its data but estimates of 30% unemployment are noted.

Needless to say it was shockingly sad to be treating a condition that was preventable by simple measures taken early in pregnancy.

In this land knowledge mixed with ignorance. I lived in a walled compound separated from the very people I treated in so many ways more than the mere presence of a wall. Yes, it came with a pool.  My hospital was no clinic. It was an upscale hospital in busy downtown with a well to do patient population. It meant the general population had poor health care knowledge.


Madhouse

Chinese New Year – New York City. Venerable Chinatown is located in a warren of narrow winding streets. The parade will meander thru crowds held back by metal barriers. Claustrophobic! Indeed! Colorful! For sure! It’s a spectacle. No Macy’s sponsorship it is a local event. Out in the hinterland of Flushing Queens there is a similar parade along Union Street, a wide venue lacking the charm and character of downtown Chinatown.


Where do you go?

Vacation. Do you go to factories? Ok, call it a fiber mill. They make cloth. How exciting. Yeah, it knocked my socks off too.

But, you do what your wife wants. I do. You might. Might not. I do. It’s better for happiness. And sometimes you are pleasantly surprised. Me? It was a photo op. For better or worse. Better? I have to admit an industrial sized bobbin is big! Ok, not factory, fiber mill.


Fun

Looks like… we get out and about. An island full of gnomes. Seal. Defibrillator with instructions confusing enough to stop you in your tracks. Rent a bike. Castle. Foreboding sky. Rain, but of course. We saw this couple in the pub with a pitcher each. Alcohol? Oh boy! Soda? I don’t drink that much. What the…?

It’s not the travel or the location. It is the adventure you have with the one you love. We had a good time. We have good times. We have had good times. We will have good times.


Street photography

The streets are not exactly teeming with folks. But there are subjects in view and fair game for my camera. People? Animal? Life, activity, bustle and hustle? Ummm, well, maybe a bit laid back and less hustle, but colorful and interesting, nonetheless. It is a glimpse into daily life. Mundane it ain’t.


Keeps good record

GIGO – old computer term – garbage in garbage out.

As good a photographer as I am and I am not… one takes pictures and looks back to realize that I really did not take pictures worthy of remembrance. They are “snaps” of poor quality that capture the idea, an anchor of the memory of the moment without really capturing a sharply focused image.

These images recall a moment and a memory. I coulda done better. But I have them. They make me smile and remember what happened once upon a time. No one’s gonna hang anything on the wall. Family friends events, some smiles, mostly imperfect. But hey! I got something to show. And I got better? Maybe? Or not!


Whimper

I recall vividly that the last slide I shot was at Dave’s graduation. Little did I know or suspect film would so suddenly be gone in my life. I just simply never went back. I did not look back. And I have not shot a roll of film since my Nikon D70 arrived late after I got home from work. Who knew?!

Nothing of import was on that last roll of slides. The deck, my dog, Dave, the school play and some flowers numbered among the mundane subjects. Interesting to see. I had never really checked until now.


Friends and family

No matter. We drift apart. I got family I have not spoken with in decades. Friends? It is so much easier to get lost and never be in touch again. Think about it? Do you? Do I? I have my regrets. There is too much guilt that wells up. But I do have one big do over if ever there was one. Family is forever. You are bonded whether or not you see them. Friends? I think so too. It’s harder to make family than friends. It’s hard to hold on.


Fog of War

There was no outright Republican victory. No sweep. No decisive win. Nada! None!

Up yours, Trump! (Ahem, your ass is grass – and I’m gonna mow it.)

I would like to say I told you so.

All politics is local. – Tip O’Neill

The nightmare Colleen envisioned did not materialize. Since more than half of us did not vote for asshole (trump) in 2020… it stands to reason 2022 elections would not be so different despite the dirty tricks and cheating by the republicans.

It was a gathering of cousins at the poll. And no, they would not stand in front of the trump flag, even as a joke! We all voted. That’s what counts at the end of the day.

Yes, there were assholes present, too. You just can’t teach stupid. It seems a natural talent.


Cracked

Maine craft weekend. We ended up in a glass blowing place. It took about 15-20 minutes to blow a pumpkin in glass. The artist promptly dropped it in a trash can to crack into bits. !!!??? It had a crack. Imperfect! No seconds! I know how she does it. I could not do it. But, knowing is fun.


What’s in your day?

You visit Maine. You go to Freeport. You visit LL Bean. Colleen used to look at the catalog with longing. Now we visit to get stuff to fill out the wardrobe. Fun?! Along the way we always have fun. The leaves are changing. The season is changing. Our humor remains high. Great photography? Today was about fun.


What’s in your day?

I am so fortunate. I have a deck to sit. The beach is a short ride away. The soundtrack of “Jaws” plays gently on my mind. Cats! I never cared much for cats till Colleen…. I got no complaints. I got worries. Don’t we all? Charmed. I have been indeed “lucky.”


Photo op

When there is no rain, there are a lot of opportunities for images. Look!? Place to place, there are images everywhere. I have realized that I must focus. Camera focus is automatic. No, I must concentrate upon the subject and the content of my image. Keep to one thing – color, pageantry, motion, detail….

It was a privilege to be at the event. We learn new things each time we attend. You cannot be everywhere at once. I wanted to feel like I got the essence of the event. I’m shy. At this event I was permitted to photograph, free to capture images uniquely showing people celebrating their heritage and culture.

I think I smiled the whole day. While I enjoyed my day job (neurosurgeon) and its challenges, I think I might have been a photographer if circumstances were otherwise. For me, this was a fun day.


Raindrops

I hate it when Colleen is right. She’s always predicting weather based on the weather report. When is the weatherman correct? Drat! Rain was predicted to fall right as the festivities began on Day 2.

And it did! Right on schedule. Right as predicted. When is the weatherman right?!

Uncanny! We went for pizza. Yes, we left. And, came back. The opening flag ceremony was just beginning. Few dancers were in attendance. Or, they were getting Chinese food? But the rains resumed – poured! There was a stampede to the exit.

Yup, raindrops… no one is getting their feathers wet. Do you wear your finest clothes in the rain? And, there was no audience.

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I am glad we were gifted with a spectacular Day 1.


powwow

Pageantry, color, people, costumes, politicians…. Colleen laughs and joins me reluctantly. I am drawn to the photo opportunity. We go. We learn. Images are everywhere.

Senator Carper showed up. I have not seen him for several years. Shocked. We were stunned by how old he looked. Stooped gait and cracking voice he had seriously aged since we saw him last time. Sad.

Color and pageantry were all around. Fun! We learned about dance, drums, and song. It was a grand day. I feel so fortunate to have attended.


Tea

High tea. It’s referred to:

“English High Tea usually involved a mug of tea, bread, vegetables, cheese and occasionally meat.

What is difference between afternoon tea and high tea?

Delectable scones, tea sandwiches, and cakes are the hallmark of an afternoon tea, which is served in midafternoon. A high tea, however, includes much more substantive fare…

“Tasha Tudor: was an American illustrator and writer of children’s books.” Beloved!

Colleen has loved her books and illustrations long before I met her. We have bought several of her books which are collectibles from antique stores.

And, I have become introduced to the Tasha Tudor society. Yes, a fan club! On her 107 birthday we attended a Tea in her honor far from our home in Lancaster PA. I won the door prize! Imagine that! We had a splendid time. There were speeches. There was a tour.

Yes, there are cults that promote good. We met people who had met Tasha during her life. Some folks have pursued celebrations like this for many years. It is indeed humbling to see living history pass as the participants grow ever older and the tenuous connection to Tasha fades.

The day started in fog and ended with a spectacular sunset replete with rainbow. Nutley, as ever, did not want us to leave him for the day. Colleen ate in a favorite restaurant as a coda. Perfect! Priceless!


Canceled

Our boat tour of three Scottish islands was canceled for wind and inclement weather. The tour took off from Oban which as you can see was bright sunny and without much wind to see. Lemons? Make lemonade.

Oban is a lovely town to walk and explore and eat a meal. Cullen skink. Don’t ask. We found it in the guidebook and Edinburgh and then we chased it all over Scotland. I just photograph it. We did have an excellent time on a very pleasant sunny afternoon.

The tower is “McCaig’s Tower, also known as McCaig’s Folly, is a prominent tower on Battery Hill overlooking the town of Oban in Argyll,” And yes, we walked to it.


Remembrance

Time has passed. 9/11 was more than 20 years ago. I remember the morning in New York City vividly. I was in my kitchen looking south toward the WTC and saw smoke rising. Soon enough the tragedy of the day unfolded as I shot slides from my rooftop as the buildings collapsed. I waited in disbelief as I waited for the buildings to reappear from the smoke. No building so massive could simply collapse. I am heartsick to this day.

Last year? Indian powwow. We attended. Had I forgotten 9/11? We were reminded amid the pomp and pageantry. A flag on a fire truck flew over the venue in tribute to the day and those we lost but have not forgotten.

Pearl Harbor happened before I was born. For many years in my childhood, the day was remembered. Memories fade. The remembrance of “infamy” is not so vivid nor talked about any longer. I wonder. Primary memory: I was there. Or? Collective sadness: it happened and great loss occurred.

9/11 – it was clear blue sky day, then and now.


Pin me down

Need a date? 2003. Canon G3. It was my first foray into digital camera thanks to a gracious gift from Lisa. Smart – Lisa. She saw the future. I was still heavily invested in film and film cameras. Too soon Kodak faded and disappeared in the rear view mirror.

In the space of a month I shot Ginny and Pat, my dog Nellie, sights of NY, and at Jule’s track meet. Ask me how I pulled off the selfie? Tripod and timer? It wasn’t hand held. Cellphones were not yet iPhone for years to come.

Meanwhile I was caught up building a cabinet and drawers to house my slide collection. Twenty six drawers, enough to house the current collection and for many years to come – which would be only one more (year). I overbuilt! It was a fun project and the kids helped me enormously. The completed project holds some but not all. Alas, the collection never grew much more. Film was gone in a year for me. I got a lot of drawers that sit empty waiting for slides that never came. It’s bittersweet. Digital images have far surpassed my film consumption in many fewer years than it took to accumulate my collection of slides. Progress? Improvement? Better? Worse? For the most part I think progress is/has been good. Here, Colleen and I have had a fierce recent debate over the earth and the environment and the preservation of natural resources. Stay put or go back? We, just like time, are always moving forward. We discuss and we agree for the most part.


A year ago

It seems so long ago… but it was but a year ago. I was on a quest for a good pizza. It was not easy and did not come for a good long while. We discovered Milton. So? It’s been there for a long time already… Flowers on my deck, they are the same and they are different. The black-eyed Susan were abundant. Perennial plants, they did not come back robustly again this year. Peas was a brand new kitten that came home with us. Donna had a different wig. Mozzarella and tomatoes, a summer classic is usually served in one dish together. The lighting is stark. I guess that is why the image caught my eye. The selfie: I just got a throwback Canon G3, my first digital camera. The original went lost and missing. Not too bad, except I got old. It’s a year later and I am still seeking a good pizza.


Late

Lest anyone would forget – we got married. Colleen said we would never attend the 50th High School reunion unless we were married. We’d lived together about five years. So, we did – get married. We had a house full of summer guests. We left them. They did a great job of clean-up. Pfewf!!

50th High School reunion – we were late to the first event. Ha ha, we got a standing “O” when we arrived late. It seems everyone knew our story. I had not attended any reunion since I left and moved to NYC. Colleen has been back off and on. She has friends and has kept up. Me? Absent without a word. Somehow, I tend to stand out especially among this crowd. A good time was had by all. Can you imagine walking into a room full of old people and wondering when did we get old? Some of us became grandparents. Mostly, we all had successful careers and many of us were retired. Wow! Who’d have thunk it! Time flew. I am at peace with the outcome of my life. At the end of the day if you can say you are happy, that would be the ultimate measure of success. Colleen and I did alright to find each other and to watch each other’s back at the reunion.

Late? Late to the party? I guess it would depend upon your perspective as to whether a happy ending is good no matter when it occurs.