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.
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.
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.
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.
I have a secret life. ??? I am shy. My interests are unlike most other people. In other words they find me boring or I do them. Large groups are worse. It is a lot of noise and chatter. Politics no, nope, nada – outta bounds. What? So, I just circulate the room and never say anything. No harm no foul. I enjoy my solitude with Colleen. As for the rest, they all pose when I point the camera as I document the family legacy. Who would remember the conversation anyway? The upshot: I was there: we wuz there: there is a historical record for the generations to come. Good. Boo! Negative waves! Nope, a good time was had by all… see the smiles!
Lesson learned. It’s a roundabout story today. Years ago I was gifted an opportunity to shoot at the US Open by a Sports Illustrated photographer who took me along. I had full-fledged press credentials to wander and shoot all over the stadium. Imagine that!
Celebrities were in abundance as well as the tennis stars of the day. It’s not hard to see who won the men’s final by the look of triumph in his face. The key to shooting: get the ball coming into or off the racket in the same frame. Spectacular!
Lesson: This came a bit later. I was posting photos to a shared website. The site also let you rate other photographer’s photos with stars 1 to 5. I went thru and rated a bunch of photos. They were mostly 3’s – average. No big deal, not great, not poor. Afterward I was inundated with vituperative comments and 1 star ratings and comments on my own uploaded (tennis) photos. “How dare I rate their photos so poorly!!!”
It was a lesson well learned. To this day, I stay off the internet in any capacity that might make me a target again. There is so much said about social media and influencers now. There is good and bad. Most of the billions of people are unaffected and socialize in peace, while a few ….
And, on a similar note: Lopsided? Her left breast is clearly disproportionately larger relative to its mate in that dress. Huh? Nice trick. How’d that happen? Or why? Am I just being picky?
Oh! Oops! Trick photography? Or stupid mistake? It is a fundamental lesson learned very early on. A wide angle lens distorts facial features. In this case … it was an unintentional error. Well, then, you simply delete the image from your memory card … instead of taking credit below the photo. Argh!!! Dumb!! Poor Jimmy!?
Like Pandora’s box, I fear the Internet is larger than any of us despite Elon Musk’s pending purchase of Twitter. Or, as singers and poets tell us – “you can’t go back.” Oh! Ooops! He’s backing out… does that make him the asshole he seems to be?
Madness! I have always said that computers are very good at keeping lists. Anything! Keep track, a computer keeps lists. Photographs or digital images, a computer can organize and keep the list. GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. Of course… you have to keep an organized and logical list… Digital alone numbers hundreds of thousands of images. I have two catalogs – sort of – one before 2016 and another after. Don’t ask. It’s chaos. I just checked. Things before 2016 are in the 2016 and vice versa. Confused!? Yes, it gets very confusing in a hurry. I got a spreadsheet data base and redundantly copied backup files/images. In other words, you are organized, till you’re not.
Did you lose interest? Anxious? Do you keep track of your images? It’s important in the event you lose your pictures. Anxious now?
This was 2019, the pandemic was right around the corner. Xmas. Groups!? I use my tripod and gather groups together. Somehow everyone seems cooperative. Pictures were taken. Do I remember? This was a random spin through the catalog and we were in a lot of homes gathered together with family and friends.
Logic? Logical? Just when you think you have a viable system, a good list… you discover chaos. I have a method to my madness. Anyone following me will have chaos. All the information is stored. Nothing has been lost. I can still make a coherent list. Maybe. Ha ha. Christmas in June, oh my!
Will it be me? Us? Old? It’s stockings? Huh?! Yes, live art – it depends upon your pronunciation, or, interpretation – of the word or picture. A jacket – for high tea! And rain gear? Well, it is Scotland, emphasis on IS. My SIL – sister in law, no (gene) relation to me – has affected my behavior in every proper museum since she accused me of being irreverent. Oh! My! Yes!! With pleasure my dear, no names please! Honestly, I never thought I would have so much fun in Glasgow. It was the company!! For sure!!
I have said elsewhere and before that I am no Black and White photographer. Color! I think color. I see colors and patterns and contrasts filled with vibrancy. Pow! In your face color! No Ansel Adams waiting and exposing and patiently developing details in Zone VII. I have a completely different personality – all go, no waiting, do it now! Ha ha. I used to wait to develop slides for forever, as long as a year. That is a lot of time for a mistake to linger before you can see the error, let alone correct yourself. Ego! I was perfect. Ha ha. Not!! And, please don’t shoot me. Too many shots, not enough time for the stories.
Parenthetically, I will add, that when I shot the moose, someone in the lecture asked where? As in, he thought I had shot this moose with a gun. Ha ha. No! And I lived to tell the tale.
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.
Though she tries, Colleen has been unable to filter me. Hey! Who doesn’t like the holidays? We like them though they are stressful and lots of work. Really? Ummm… well… we have lots to do. I am, sometimes, beside myself. Slow down! Let things unfold slowly and naturally. And, yet, we have a good time, too. That, there picture would be Charles Dickens great grandson performing a one man show of Christmas Carol. For real! Yes!
Strange things happen during the holidays. Masks were still in – style. And, the non sequiturs? Don’t ask, I take odd and strange photos, too. The pink juicer has been our unicorn for years. Buy it?!
It was the year of the gnome. What do our cats know from Xmas? Our youngest. It used to be, that you dressed up all formal for Xmas. No more. PJ’s are just fine! Cuteness is independent of fashion. Have I worn a tie since I retired?
The last time? 2018 – crunchy granola set. I say it in the most wistful way, for Colleen adores the Common Ground fair. It was our second visit. And, then, the Covid pandemic hit; its canceled ever since. Produce, sheep, bourbon barrel maple syrup … and a spinning demonstration, it was full of photo ops. I now know, much more about spinning wheels. For instance, I can spot a Schact ladybug wheel. Ha ha. They are all castle wheels? I can say my eye is more practiced in spinning, and, you don’t care. Alas, a sheep is still a sheep. I can only tell you that this batch is not ready for shearing. Maybe the fair is on again this year? Maybe.
It came to me as I awoke – idea!! I would be in costume – well, not exactly, but scrubs. My (personal) PJ’s, working gear. We were to demonstrate at the local fiber show. Ok! I am not a volunteer. Colleen volunteered me/us. A local newspaper came by to get a pic and a story. We will be in it – the news. (WITSEC) Witness protection beware. Ha ha. And of course, pizza and a beer for dinner. Colleen had seafood lasagna. Note: be careful what you wear in public, especially if you don’t have the figure for it. She took mine (pic); I took hers.
A sheep is a sheep – all the same to me, just different colors, with or without horn. A spinning wheel? A loom? Venerable. Costly. Slow (to make clothes by hand). I get my clothes for sale $10 a shirt. That is simply sinful thought. To not appreciate the process is to ignore history and how we got to this point in time; this is narrow minded thinking. Shearing, washing, carding, spinning, weaving… yarn to cloth to clothes.
The Golding wheel is the Bentley of spinning wheels. Art. It is not how you get there as much as how you look getting there. Any car goes when you add gas. Eh? Computerized looms? It has a niche, though, it’s oddly out of place with hand craft. You go to the sheep and wool festival to – meet Golding and son, see the sights, see sheeps, and to see people. I get photo ops. Sheepishly, I have newfound respect for the handicraft. No, Colleen, (I get it now) a sheep is not a sheep. There are differences beyond appearance. And, no, a Golding wheel is not in our future. Hey! You don’t have to spend $10k for a Golding! Maybe I should not have checked $ on the internet. Price increase! – $30k for a stained glass Golding wheel!! I still cannot differentiate sheep breeds. (A sheep 🙂 is still a sheep.)
At a certain point folks don’t want a big deal made over their birthday. It is a reminder of getting old. Ginny? Well, to change the subject quickly, she kind of looks thinner. No more talk of age. Then again, I would be remise to forget her birthday. Right? Just to be certain, I composed this post way in advance. Glue? Ginny is the glue that holds this group together.
I was infatuated by Kristina. She was niece to a famous neurosurgeon. Cool. We had a brief travel encounter heading toward Oslo. I never saw her again. It was her decision. Better for me (much!!). Strange girl. I had back pain. She opened her handbag and took out a bottle of mixed assorted pills, found a couple and handed them to me. ??? Oh, she said, I know what they are by their looks. I took ‘em. Trust! It’s wise she did not hook up with me. After all, history says that if you wait, you will meet Colleen once more. Oh! Thank you! I laugh, though. We stopped along the way to Oslo, spontaneously knocking on a random door to a mansion, and getting a tour from the mistress of the house. That is definitely not my usual, or, maybe… You may smile (or not) to see the weaving, which Colleen can undoubtedly comment. Warp, weft, pattern, they are all discernible to the eye of a weaver. Me? I am very happy in the place I am in, right here, and, now. I am with a very smart woman, indeed!
Colleen wants to do one – river cruise. I’m spinning old slides today. Spontaneously, nuts, I was in Norway for a birthday party pretty much precipitated by a dare. Harald turned 65 and threw himself a party inviting an international cohort of neurosurgery colleagues as well as everyone in/from his valley home in Unset. Unset? The entering/leaving sign was two sides of the same board. Replete with belly dancer, the party was a success. I was placed in a farmhouse room with a bed and multiple looms. What did I know then?? Not a thing. Old? Barn loom? I have a different eye nowadays. Colleen has educated me.
And, who covers their haystacks? Green roof? Yup, they have the first real green roofs I have/had seen. It is a fond memory. And, never, ever, accept a birthday party invitation without finding out the location first. Ever! Harald is still chuckling about how he set me up.
…fun can you have with your clothes on? It’s perception? Looking at things differently? Art is there to make us think. I interact. I see things and try…. My mind races. I never considered myself an artist. Photography appeals because the image is accurate and absolute in its real depiction of the world around me. I could never draw it. Photography is deemed an artform. Ok!
The sculpture gave me pause… long enough to walk around and discover, a new perspective. Plane crash? … as art? Without being there, you know it is a cold day outside my window. Food fun? The cup says Chinese. The food says dim sum. Fun?!? Yeah, keep your clothes on, stay warm, eat a lot of food!
Got one? This is my high school buddy. We look a bit different. At least I have hair. No names please, to protect the innocent. Ethiopian food? (There’s a joke in this somewhere.) A good time was had by all. Go to Chicago, meet up with friends and relatives. Eat, drink, be merry. How good (best friend)? We were at Woodstock together. Most of you would have to look up this historic event. It was a blip in our lives too. But, we can say we were there.
From the pictures and the dates, it would appear that I last dove only a few days before I departed Saudi. Decompression protocol says you don’t dive 24 hrs before you (fly) leave. It looks like I got on a boat dive with the Filipinos. Nice! I learned this trick in my last few dives. All the nondescript shells on the reef harbored hermit crabs. Turn over the shell and voila! A hermit crab! Isn’t that a neat trick? Well, I guess the hermit crabs weren’t so amused. … giant clams, Christmas tree worms, clown fish, and pajama nudibranch numbered among my photographic subjects. One two three nudibranch, unusual to see them grouped, they are loners on the reef. Bright colors mean, danger, eat me and you will be sick. The details are what standout in these last images. My dive days are pretty much over, now.
… I was in Saudi. It was so long ago, now. I got out when they tried to blow up the American Embassy. I had just passed the compound hours earlier. Close enough, it was more than enough for me. The nice ladies in their native costumes on the jet plane home gave me the worst cold I have ever had in my life. There were a few who missed me, as in, they regretted my departure. Colleen was especially relieved. And today, with Covid, I might have been trapped in Saudi unable to travel for two years. Since Colleen (believes she) is always right, I believe this might be so, too. Oh! If you look close, there’s a Lamy pen and an iPhone 5 in my shirt pocket. Um, it was a vital (phone) line to Colleen from Saudi after we were first in contact. Do I miss it? The people, yes. Life in a totalitarian state, no.
Another random stroll through the catalog… I came across a biker on the road with a French road sign (Sortie). Oh!? Canada! Did we really eat in this place? Pop-up store in a truck? Gee, memories fade. My pictures are the anchors. I have forgotten a lot of stuff. This would all be lost without a record. It was not memorable? Enough?
Once upon a time Amelia, the dove, hatched a clutch of eggs in Jule”s window box. Several more generations of eggs followed and hatched. Imagine, it was 5 floor up in NYC, hardly the place to raise a family of doves. Several years later there was a reunion of the extended dove family on my 6th floor deck – one time only. It was poignant and priceless!
I have seen Gates, a one-time art installation in Central Park. I flew over the Verraznno Bridge during the NYC Marathon. I got to shoot at the US Open. I have been to Patriot Day in Boston. Why did the turkey(s) cross the road? Um, I don’t know either. Puffins??! Cute?! I got seasick three times unsuccessfully never seeing the birds, before I got this shot. The dragon – New Orleans – mardi gras, I was there to see the warehouse housing the trappings of the celebration. Walter Mitty had nothing on me.
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!