Happy… birthday. Happy!? I hope I have made you as happy as you have made me so. In a simple collage we have the essence of it all: cat, food, travel, spinning, beach… together. Good time?! Yup! Favorite cat? We all have a special one. Ha! Not really. If a picture is worth a thousand words… I hope you will know how my feelings are in this collage. Happy?…. as the cow jumped over the moon. Happy? … my wish to you.
Flag? Symbolism? Meaning? Interpretation? Philosophical? Deep? Poetic? … Nah! Spontaneous. It was eye catching as I edited… gestalt. Ah! And flowers….
I could hardly be accused of being cramped. I keep saying there are too many images and not enough time. The cameras give me technically sound shots. I used to shoot 36 images (film) per day. Now, it can easily be 700 images (digital) in a single outing. Philosophically, less is more?! One image? Sure. But, it’s so much more illustrative (fun!) to share the backstory (ha!) on what’s doing.
Look to home when you need inspiration? My cat Feather has replaced Peas in the basket in order to occupy space and ambush Peas (in her former favorite spot). After Barb cut down my passion fruit vine, the new one and its flower is a surprise brilliant red. Sometimes things happen for a reason (photo op). Meanwhile, you will see Chestertown illustrated. It was a charming town, an over the top excellent find by Colleen, who loves history, shopping, eating, art, and above all, all things “charming.” We could not have had a better day with our clothes on. (Shhh, she wasn’t sure about the dress length; she wore shorts beneath.)
Way back in the beginning… back in 2011, I started this blog. It was free. Free is for me! I’m not selling anything. No $ either way, in either direction. Not true, I pay a fee for extra memory (on the site) nowadays. There are ads, a few, not my doing, not mine (ads). Essentially, free. Followers, a lot of commercial WordPress sites these days, fishing for business. Followers, a few, to whom I imparted the blog address. There are few enough followers who have found me from around the world. But indeed, there have been visitors from around the world. Ah, the power of the internet! I do not seek fame. I merely share thoughts and photos. I’m better than average and less than great. I am not the best in my family but better than most. My own kids have produced 5 star pics on their iPhones! It’s not common, so, the body of my work is technically better. But, then art was never about quantity. Quality can show up in a single image. Colleen’s kids – Emma has more photography experience. But, even Jess and Ian have shown that even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while. Even though I take great shots, it’s just not every day. But every day, I take shots.
I’m spinning the photo catalog today. Originally, I had intended to publish one picture a day of “ooh and ah!” quality along with a story. Lately, it’s been about the stories triggered by the images. Technically, it still fits the title of the blog, but we are a long way off. I’ve been on a lot of planes. The middle top pic is instantly recognizable. Colleen hates to fly. She goes because she does not trust me alone? ?? Dunno? Ha! The first thing we did upon arrival was seek a vegetarian restaurant. It’s very appetizing – if you’re a rabbit. And she got a bottle of organic beer. Isn’t all that beer vegetarian and organic to begin with? I think maybe I would have rather been in the pakora place next door. But, it is now revealed Colleen doesn’t care for Indian. Damn, so far and yet so close. Figuratively, literally, you do the math and take your pick of the choices here in my words. The truth: We have fun. Anywhere is good as long as I’m with Colleen. Happiness is…
The inbox is full. I anchor memories to pictures. Or, is the converse positive? I spin the photo catalog and randomly land upon an image. What? Huh? A couple shots to the right or to the left….aha! Now I remember! It’s funny that way. Colleen has much more difficulty. We were… somewhere, and then I show her the picture and it becomes fact. It’s not a clear memory. But for me, much of what I remember is from images. Or, is it the converse? The trigger? It was the Christmas tree advent calendar in the middle top. I remember Colleen admired it. We even went and bought felt to make one ourselves… we still have pieces of felt around the house.
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.
I have about 305k images in this catalog. So. I picked #’s 100k 200k and 300k. Here’s what was there. 300: Christmas 2020: it was just this past Xmas; lockdown, us and the cats. 200: Scotland 2019: it was the trip Colleen dreamed of for many years come true. 100: Maine 2018: We returned. Our first trip to Maine was 2014. It was another “wished for” destination for Colleen. Who knew? I did not know what to expect from random numbers. This catalog has pics from 2016 onward. It’s been a nice bunch of years. Nothing bad, 300k images and counting. How’s that for random? I shoot more pictures than an average person. But, there are professionals with millions of images in their catalog. Ha ha!
Happy birthday Dave. You have had some grand adventures. I have to admit he has gotten his money’s worth with that iPhone. If you travel with a backpack, there is not much room to spare. I am happy to say his photography puts mine to shame. Keep finding new adventures. I’m proud of you.
Ha ha! You never see the sights until you move away. I lived in NYC for the better part of my adult life. I have/had never been to the main branch of the NYC Public Library – you know, the one with the lions outside the entrance. Colleen came to visit from WV and off to the library we went. It was absolutely the first time for me too. It was my first and only visit. Who would have thunk that would be the case?
What’s good? Photoshop enhanced? Is it good straight out of the camera? Do you allow major or minor manipulation? When is does it cross the line into being art instead of photography? Purist? The algorithm in the camera already dictates so much. Shoot raw? The manipulation you do, is it to recreate the image you saw. Or are you creating the image you imagined? What’s good? I’m glad I don’t have to care about all that. I have never competed in a photo contest. Well, once, and, I lost. Sour grapes? Nope. It was expected on my part. I’m good. But I am not in the same league with award winning photographers. I’m not dedicated to perfection. I could do a good job given the responsibility. Sure, but it was never my day job. So, I am content. I have a catalog with hundreds of thousands of images. Some good. On the whole there are too many good images to possibly ever post. That’s good.
From sea to shining sea, the United States people are as different as the topography of the country. There are delicate balances among ideas that clash. Among the profound beauty there are great divides in ideologies that define our beliefs. I remain hopeful and optimistic. Balanced rock, Arches National Park, will still be here long after I am gone. Someday it will fall. There is a cycle and inevitability to things. I hope we will solve climate change. I will never know. There are those who deny climate change and evolution and this never ceases to bewilder me. I have been blessed to witness much beauty in my lifetime. Would you disagree with that too?
I lifted this layout right off Shutterfly. Who’s got rights? I have been told nothing disappears from the internet. But, how’d it get there? Shutterfly, it took over after Kodak folded. They send emails to me of “memories” from time past. I mostly don’t pay attention. I did, once upon a time, upload a lot of images to Kodak in order to share pictures. But, hey! Where did these come from? They are long after I uploaded anything to Kodak and definitely not on Shutterfly. I don’t use the service. It’s not transparent. I can easily see who owns Shutterfly. For sure, they did not ever receive or have permission to snag these digital images. By, the way, their periodic reminders of memories from the past are (mostly) unhappy remembrances at this point. They wouldn’t know – a smiling face is a smiling face. I’m just wondering. However. So far it’s so. What’s on the ‘net lingers forever. In this particular instance I do hope the (these) memories last forever. This one was an “extended” first date, the best I ever had.
We were playing hooky. Instead of quarantine we were… We found a new bookstore dedicated to local authors. The owner herself had written of her experiences as a funeral home owner. Geez, I can’t wait to see how that ended. The Enchanted Tea Room – ah, bad timing. She offers high tea – English style – tiered trays of tea sandwiches. Alas, she was ill with low back pain – my specialty! But I could not advise or console her. She only had an answering machine which she turned off. She was dreadfully afraid to catch covid. A former favorite restaurant re-opened as a bar. We tried it. Beer!? What’s not to like! The place was empty – not an auspicious start, ordinarily indicating a quick demise. Oh, I circled back to the funeral home?
Imprisoned at the whim or will of the monarch, beheaded without trial, this fortress has a long sordid history. Sixty days to the election, I wonder how this post will look post election in December? Did we win or did the dark force prevail? I do hope our dear leader gets an orange jumpsuit. Maybe it’s time to bring back beheading?
Nineteen years. Time fades memory. I nearly forgot. I didn’t. But the raw sense of profound loss has been tempered. Last year we were in Scotland to fulfill a long dream of Colleen’s. We passed this cow on the road looking over the hedge at us. I stopped. Cute! Not a Heilan coo. Maybe? He needed bangs. So, a cow, a cute one at that, and he let me take his picture while he curiously gazed. Yes, nineteen years, a couple generations have passed. Has memory faded so much? I remember. I was there. I know someone who was lost. For many it’s not so personal. Not me.
I hate it, when they change things. WordPress, the sponsor of this blog site has changed the format for creating and editing a post. Yay! By now everyone has had a chance to try it. I hate change. I just got used to editing and creating…. What if one had to change wives every…. Oh shit! I’m in deep shit….. Please forgive me honey, I don’t know what came over me. I’m so terribly sorry! 🙂
Butt soap – for Ginny, or Emma – there’s a side for your face and one for your ass. Don’t get mixed up? Please. (You know who you are.)
Puerto Rico, San Juan. Sunday? I was barely talking with Lisa. We’d been in a fight for quite a long time. We somehow were in San Juan to start the one and only cruise I have ever been on. Walking randomly in the streets, I glanced down the next. Perfect. A moment. The light! Someone walking. Color! Does it get better than when you know you shot something special the moment you pressed the shutter?
The best picture I ever took that I wish I had a do over: Random! Totally! This was on a road trip in Europe. Does it matter where? When? … a very long time ago. We had stopped (the car) many many times. The patience of my passenger/wife? was at an end. No stopping. I had a point and shoot (film!) camera in my lap. Auto anything? I just lifted the camera to the driver side window and fired one shot. One! Single! Shot! That’s it. The moment was gone, never to be seen (ever!) again. Am I clear? I missed out on a real moment. I couldn’t stop. Who knew? Well, I got something to show you all. Regrets? I have a few. But then life did turn out with a happy ending somewhere along the line. And I hope to be on the road again. And my beloved spouse will (though not intentionally) pressure me to keep on the move. Next…
…we could travel freely? Right about now we are more than half through our second trip to Scotland. Not! Bad timing! Ode to corona: who thought a trip to our mailbox would be a threat to our health. Confused? No. Alas, we are not in Scotland. We were told the sheep were dipped – yellow – for purposes of health. We never saw another flock like it. Reasons on the ‘net include: ID, ownership, ewes, theft discouragement and who knows? We frequently staged some gag photos for the kids. Yeah, shameless Photoshop. Why not? Poor Colleen. Why hug a post box? Hey! You would have to look in my brain. Me? Some days I’m locked out. Thistle: the national flower of Scotland. And right now I wish we were posting: “Wish you were here.”
Today’s Dave’s birthday. Happy Birthday! (I’ll remind his sister so she’ll look good. Hey! People remind me of dates all the time.) I write my posts in advance. So, the big question is whether we are on the plane today to Scotland or not. We were/are scheduled. …cancelled/postponed due to pandemic. Who knew? River Tweed panorama anyone? No, the sheep are not sick with yellow fever. And we/us? As long as we are safe and with/among loved ones, it’s okay by me. Colleen would like to be with the “sheepies” too.
I try to take pics every day. It’s not every day I get something to post. Today? Leaving. We go. The cats stay behind. They know it when the bags come out. I could be accused of reading too much into their expression. Poor me (cat). Don’t go. They lie about the house listlessly, or perch on the bag as though that would prevent us from leaving. Either way, there’s plenty of guilt and regret. We gotta go…wish it weren’t so.
Pronunciation is “close” as in “close to you” not “close the door.” It’s uniquely British/Scottish. We encountered one in Edinburgh that led to a charming little courtyard. And in Stirling it was a garbage filled back alley that led to the next street. You pick. The USA equivalent is a back alley. In Britain it is named (on a map) and designates a narrow alley/walk between two buildings to cross over or enter another space. In our first example it led to a courtyard of buildings. Charming. In the second it led to the adjacent street where we sought Nicky Tam pub – famous Cullen skink. No! It was a dive! We felt unsafe and unclean and quickly exited safe with our lives and our money. We lit upon Brea a few doors down where we slipped in just before dinner rush. They gave Colleen a lovely ½ order of Cullen skink and of risotto, two birds with one stone! And, now for the kicker, I dreamt this post up. Literally, I was sleeping and dreaming of two alternatives to pronouncing the word “close.” So, here we are.
More fog. The effect can be ethereal. Once upon a time I could not conceive that a photo in fog could be good. How do you focus in the mist? You don’t. And, the effect though unpredictable can be quite unexpected and surprising. It works for me.