I just read an article talking about how a well-known shoe retailer missed analysts’ earnings estimates, blamed in part on a “slowdown in processing of tax refunds.” I’m admittedly naive about how people choose to spend their money, but it seems to me that a tax refund shouldn’t have that much of an impact on shoe sales. And if it does, would it be possible that people are spending too much money on shoes?
Revisiting some previously unprocessed photos from a year ago, just for fun. Enjoy, and happy Friday. TGIF! 🙂
Kathy & I recently spent a week at the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Since we got back I’ve had so much going on that I haven’t had a chance to process and post any photos. I didn’t take many photos on the beach proper, but did take my camera with me to dinner and other outings. Here are a few picks from my first pass through the folder.
It’s been a little while since I posted, and I am working on getting caught up from a week at the beach. This is a photo from our visit to Hilton Head in February, and I’ll have some current photos from our most recent adventure real soon!
We’re getting ready for a return to Hilton Head in a few weeks, so for some inspiration I decided to work on some of the files from our last visit in February. These are a few more of the “blurry” photos that always seem so popular.
Unless I get really motivated, it’s unlikely that I’ll do much of this type of shooting in late May, especially in the mornings. Sunrise is a relatively inhospitable 6:19am, which means I would need to be up and on the beach by 5:15am. And that is made unlikely by a sunset time of 8:20pm that tends to interfere with cocktail time and usually makes for a late dinner. I am on vacation, after all! 😉
We’ve been home a week now, but Kathy & I recently spent a week on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. It’s one of our favorite getaway destinations any time of year. It was a little early in the season and we knew we ran the risk of cold weather, but we needed to get away. So we went, it was nice and now we’re counting down to the next adventure. In the meantime, there are photos!
The beach is one of the few places that calls my name so irresistibly that I have no problem hauling myself out of bed before sunrise. Because I don’t have to get in the car and drive anywhere, I can stumble out of the bed, dress, grab my gear and be out to the beach in about 15 minutes.
One of my favorite things is taking advantage of the low light and great color to make motion blur photos. They have become a bit of a “signature” for me, and interestingly the motion blur abstracts are the photos that have sold best recently.
This is a mix of a few blurry and sharp photos from our week at the beach. I’ve got a lot more work to do but was overdue for a post, so here it is!
Kathy & I visited Hilton Head Island, SC last week, one of our favorite getaway destinations. I got lucky with the sunset on the evening of our visit to Harbor Town and thought it wouldn’t be a bad view for my desktop for a while. Enjoy!
We live in an age of absolutes. We have political parties who won’t support another party’s position just because it isn’t theirs, even when it is right. If we choose to not support a given cause then we are considered to be against it, even though we might be generous contributors to some other cause. When we drive it seems we are either rushing down the road like we’re on our way to a fire, or sitting at a traffic light checking the messages on our phones that came since the last red light.
Our Subaru came with a gauge on the dashboard that gives a visual reference as to whether we are “using gas” or “saving gas.” “Using gas” goes all the way to the 6:00, or “minus” position, while “saving gas” goes to the 12:00 or “plus position. When I am driving down a level road at a reasonable speed, the needle is horizontal at the 9:00 position, which in goldilocks terms means “just right” territory. But the scale between all the way “plus” and all the way “minus” is a continuum. When we first bought the car I became fixated on that gauge, mostly because I was surprised at how often it was pegged to the “minus” position and how seldom it hovered in “plus” territory. Sometimes the gauge just has to go into the Minus zone, like when pulling away from a traffic light, merging onto a freeway or going up a hill. But other than that, I have adjusted how I use the accelerator in order to keep that needle from “hitting bottom” any more than necessary.
This will sound silly, but in many ways that gauge has literally changed my life. That visual reference has taught me that the gas pedal is a control, and not an on/off switch.
My son Kevin has a term for people who pay attention to things and people around us. He calls us “observers.” I like that term because it is descriptive but not a label. Being an observer is both a blessing and a curse. Being an observer lets us experience things around us that other people overlook, for all the various reasons that people overlook things. Being an observer also makes us see all the things that people do that make us angry. One of the things I observe is how often people appear to live their lives either “off” or “on.” And for me that often manifests itself in how people drive.
I see that little needle as an analogy for the way I live my life, and I guess I project it on others as I imagine them running around with their personal needles pegged on Minus. This feeling is especially prevalent on my drive to work in the morning, as we move from one stop light to the next, all of us ending up in the same place, just in a somewhat different order. Some people race to get to the light sooner, and just have to wait longer for it to change. Others roll up to the light just as it is getting ready to change, but it’s the same cars each time. I guess in many ways I’m playing the role of the tortoise vs. the hare, but I learned long ago that no one gives out prizes for being the first person into the office in the morning. And they don’t serve cocktails to those who are still in the office at 6:00. When I leave for the day, I do so with the confidence that it will be there when I get back. Right where I left it the day before. It’s funny how that works.
So where did the title come from? I was thinking about the fact that people seem to know only two settings on their cars – “go” and “stop.” I was thinking about the fact that I can choose how hard to press the gas pedal – that it is a control that allows me to add gas gradually instead of just mashing it to the floor, instead of an off/on switch with only two settings. And I choose to live my life somewhere between the Plus and Minus settings. Sometimes it’s OK to peg the needle one way or the other, but things seem to run more smoothly when I keep the needle in the middle. And I guess I just find myself happier when my personal needle spends more time on the Plus side of the scale than the Minus.
Back to the real abstracty stuff for September! Last month’s calendar photo was a little too literal to fit the “abstract” theme, but I like it and it works.
I really like this month’s photo for the pastel colors and the soft edge of the waterline against the sand. It fits into my idea of a quiet evening, which is one of the things I like best about being at the beach.
One of the cars I frequently see in our neighborhood has a sticker on the back that says “Salt Life.” I’ve seen it in other places too, but never really knew what it was all about. Remember that I live a sheltered life, with no advertising and stuff, so bear with me. The other day going to work I followed an SUV that was sporting a “Salt Life” spare tire cover. Finally getting the better of my curiosity, I turned to The Google to see what this was all about.
So as it turns out, Salt Life is a company that sells stuff that says Salt Life on it. According to their website, they are “an authentic, aspirational and lifestyle brand that embraces those who love the ocean and everything associated with living the “Salt Life”.” So in other words, according to the cynic in me (me, cynical? 🙂 ), they sell stuff to people who are too busy living some other “authentic aspirational lifestyle” to actually go to the beach and enjoy “everything associated with” being at the ocean. It’s a fantastic business model – get people to pay for the privilege of advertising your brand. One of the oldest models in the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m good with it. I ain’t judging. But the whole idea strikes me as kind of shallow. I mean, if we really aspire to living at the beach, then we need to get our a$$ to the beach. Don’t just buy stuff that makes other people think you went to the beach. Besides, the real beach people can tell.