Tag Archives: Photography

Full Moon – Sort of a Bust?

Full moon rising over the Atlantic Ocean at St. Augustine Beach, Florida

The full moon is technically today 2/27, although it was fuller at moonrise last night than it will be tonight.  The night that the moon rises just before sunset is what I have heard referred to as the “photographer’s moon” because it rises almost-full while there is still sufficient light on the landscape to show detail.

Last night’s moon rose through a band of thick haze on the horizon into a cloudless sky, so there wasn’t a lot to be excited about.  But it was still pretty, we had a nice place to watch from and it was cocktail time!  I may try again tonight but moonrise coincides with dinner time so I may need to make do with one night’s photos.

White balance may be a little wonky on this but I think it is pretty true to the scene as it was presented.

Frozen Moments

Billy’s, Roanoke VA 2009

The Cartier-Bresson quote and photo from Monte’s recent post made me remember this photo, from way back in 2009.  It is a rare photo for me, one that captures a fleeting glance, possibly a look of concern, that immediately disappeared as she averted her eyes and entered the front door of the restaurant.  A microsecond later and I would have had nothing but a girl with an umbrella.

How We Learn

Murray’s Mill Historic Site

The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic. – Peter Drucker

The last few days I’ve been working on compiling some of my blog posts from early in the pandemic into book form.  As I read over some of the things I wrote in March and April last year, I’m struck by how little we knew at that time and what our (my) attitudes were.  I’m not sure we’ve really learned a lot in the last year, but what we know now seems a lot different from what we knew then.

These are a few more of the photos from our visit to Murray’s Mill.  I’ve been experimenting with some in-camera JPEG ‘recipes’ and these are photos made with one called “Dramatic Monochrome” from Fuji X Weekly.

Murray’s Mill Historic Site

Art Versus Decor

Print made for a private booth at Dressler’s Restaurant in Charlotte

One of the household projects Kathy & I have been dabbling with over the last year or so is some decorating.  We’ve been in our condo for just over 7 years, and other than buying new furniture and hanging some things on the walls it’s been pretty much the way it was when we moved in.  We just never got around to “finishing” it – traveling is way more fun!  But now that we’ve been spending more time here, spending less money on travel and are generally tired of looking at the same stuff, we’re trying to change things up a bit.

Print made for a hallway at Dressler’s Restaurant in Charlotte

When we downsized from our old house, we had a lot more prints hung there than we needed for our new place.  There were several that had been admired by friends and family, so I was happy to give some of them new homes.  Others I removed from the frames, stored the matted prints in an archival box, and they are under the bed.  I sent the frames to Goodwill.  I’ll probably never hang the prints again but I have them and they are out of the way.  I had new prints made for some specific places, but for the most part we just recycled prints that had been hung in our old house.  I haven’t wanted to spend money on prints for prints’ sake without a specific location to hang them.

One of two grids of prints made for a banquet room at Dressler’s Restaurant in Charlotte
One of two grids of prints made for a banquet room at Dressler’s Restaurant in Charlotte

I have never collected prints by other photographers.  I have several prints from photographers that mean a lot to me, and with the exception of one that needs framed, I have them displayed prominently (sadly, I don’t own a Curto 😉 ).  One of our rooms is dedicated to prints of paintings by an artist in St. Martin, and that room doesn’t need a thing.  But there are places in the house that just need decor.  We recently had our bedroom and bathrooms painted.  I have a beautiful grouping of prints on wood that I rehung in our bedroom over the dresser, but the other bedroom and bathroom walls are currently bare and awaiting our inspiration.

Prints made for the dining room of Dressler’s Restaurant in Charlotte

We’ve constantly struggled with the question of what to hang on the walls.  I obviously have a huge selection of photographic material, but (a) we’re both sensitive to the idea of not wanting our house to be a “photography gallery,” (b) there is only so much wall space and (c) deciding on what to print and hang is a huge challenge.  Printing and framing is expensive, and once we’ve put down a few hundred dollars for printing and framing (or for canvas or metal) we’ve always felt like we needed to be willing to live with it for a while.

Prints made for the ladies’ room of Dressler’s Restaurant in Charlotte
Print made for the men’s room at Dressler’s Restaurant in Charlotte

But is that really the case?  I consider a lot of my work to be “artistic” but I don’t consider myself to be an “artist” in the sense that any of my work will ever mean anything beyond a close circle of family & friends and a few “accidental” clients.  If I went to Ikea, brought home a carload of decor, hung it on the wall for a few years and then tossed it in the trash, so what?  But other than the fact that it’s my work and it cost me a bit more than Ikea, what’s the difference if I throw or give it away after I get done with it?  We don’t mind spending (say) $300 on a case of wine or a fancy dinner, so if we spend that same money on a few things to hang on the wall, I don’t see anything wrong with considering them to be “consumables.”  Better to give them away to an appreciative recipient of course, but we don’t have to live with them forever.

Print made for the bar at Dressler’s Restaurant in Charlotte

So the question I’m struggling with is this: If we consider replacing artwork to be no different than buying a new bedspread or draperies or having a chair reupholstered, so what?  As long as we’re good with the money, no one cares but us.  Yes, I would always try to find a new home for old pieces with someone who appreciates them.  But that appreciation is more likely to be because they came from me rather than them being an artifact with some kind of collectible value.  It feels a little weird to think of it that way, but I think it is OK.

Print made for the bar at Dressler’s Restaurant in Charlotte

All Used Up

Long-abandoned truck chassis along the Mount Holly Trail

I spotted this old relic during our walk a few days ago.  It might make for an interesting photo study, except for the fact that it sits at the very end of the 1.5-mile trail!

I keep thinking that this would make a decent black & white image, but I haven’t come up with a version I’m happy with.  When I take the color out the tones are all the same and the image looks like a flat, jumbled mess.  I’ll keep working with it to see what I can do, but in the meantime I like the color version just fine!

Reflecting On Reflections

Pa-Hay-Okee Lookout Tower and boardwalk, Everglades National Park, Florida

I recently posted a few reflection photos to Instagram, and it got me thinking about how much time I spend looking for reflections.  My conclusion?  Not nearly enough!

Garibaldi Marina in Garibaldi, Oregon

Photos of boats in a marina with still water are pretty low-hanging fruit.  I need to remind myself that while I am looking for lines, pattern and shadows, to keep my eyes peeled for good candidates for reflections.

Garibaldi Marina in Garibaldi, Oregon
Arrival in Grand Cayman aboard Brilliance of the Seas
Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Another Sunrise…With A Bonus!

Aerial demonstration of birds over Mountain Island Lake

I had to wait until this morning to have my first sunrise opportunity of the year.  The weather the last few days has basically been crap, but the forecast for this morning held promise.  Rather than set an alarm I told myself that if I woke up in time I would head out to see what I might find.  Usually when I try that approach I either wake up too early or too late, but this morning I woke up at 5:50 which was just about perfect.

Clouds lit by city lights from Mountain Island Lake from the Riverbend Boat Launch.  No, that’s not a fire – Christmas Lights!

I arrived at the boat launch area right at 6:30 and was treated to some amber city-lit clouds low to the horizon and a clear sky with clouds above.  Pretty sweet!  No fog this time, but that was good for better reflections.  I got a few shots of that then aimed my camera at the causeway to catch some light trails.  There is a lot more traffic on a Monday morning than there was on the Sunday morning when I last visited!

Car trails on the causeway over Mountain Island Lake

The parking lot was completely deserted when I arrived, but the first boater showed about about 6:45.  He was well organized and put in quickly, but it was too dark to get anything usable.  The second boater arrived about 7:15, took his time futzing around with this gear and finally left the dock just as the sun was coming up.  That made for some good light on the boat as it putted through the No Wake zone.

Father-daughter morning fishing expedition
Sunrise over Mountain Island Lake from the Riverbend Boat Launch

The bonus though was that, all of a sudden, I heard birds, lots of them.  Then overhead came a huge cloud of some kind of small black birds, probably starlings, grackles or similar black birds – hundreds of them!  And that cloud was followed by another, then another.  I have no idea how many of them there were, but there were a bunch.  Fortunately I had my camera set up for a wide angle shot of the water and sky, so I was able to catch a few frames with the birds, even though they were a bit blurry.  They were moving fast!

Sunrise over Mountain Island Lake from the Riverbend Boat Launch

So in addition to a pretty sunrise I got an impromptu air show! All in all it was a worthwhile visit and I got a few shots to start off the new year.  The weather looks like might deteriorate again the next few days but I’ll keep a lookout for another opportunity!

Sunrise over Mountain Island Lake from the Riverbend Boat Launch

After The Demolition Derby That Was 2020, We’re “Still Running!”

St John, USVI

When I was growing up, my family would regularly attend stock car races at a couple of local race tracks.  A few times a year the tracks would have events called Demolition Derbies, where a bunch of stripped-down cars would start out running around the track and purposely wreck each other, with the last car running declared the winner.  I’m recalling this through 50+ years of possibly (likely!) faulty memory, but as I recall, somewhere near the end when there were only 2 or 3 cars running, the announcer providing the blow-by-blow commentary would say something like “CAR 83 IS SMOKING BADLY, HAS A COUPLE OF FLAT TIRES BUT IT’S STIIIIIILLLLL RUNNING.”  I have to say that after the demolition derby that was 2020, we’re badly damaged but STILL RUNNING.  And hopefully running well enough to hang on through 2021.

Tom and Katy at the beach!

Somewhat counter to the rest of society (contrarians? us?) and despite the various impacts of the virus, Kathy & I look back on 2020 as overall a very good year.  We made some important changes that we possibly would/should have made anyway, but the arrival of Covid made them imperative.  It worked out, and WE”RE STILL RUNNING!  Believe me though, I am quite sensitive to the fact that not everyone can say the same about 2020.  For way too many folks, 2020 was a very ugly year.  A disastrous year.  A demolition derby with not everyone escaping unscathed.  From where I sit, however, life has been pretty darned good and I am thankful for that.

Yellowtail Dam area in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in southern Montana near Fort Smith

But we traveled.  We traveled a bit differently than in past years, with a little more attention paid to places and conditions, avoiding the famous places with big crowds, carrying more of our food and water than we might have taken otherwise, but the country was open and we went.  In fact, we traveled more in 2020 than we ever have.  We spent 90+ days away from home, crossed off 5 new states and visited friends and family in locations far & wide.  Despite only driving 426 miles in March, April & May, we’ve put over 18,000 miles on the Subie since 12/31/19, mostly in the second half of the year and including our 8,000-mile road trip to the Oregon coast and back in September.  And we did it safely, staying away from popular places like National Parks and sticking mostly to sparsely-visited National Monuments, National Historic Parks, State Parks and Wildlife Refuges.  A number of places were not open so we made do by seeing just the outside.  Yes, we traveled!

“Wheel Fence” at the Dahmen Barn along US-195 in Uniontown, Washington

With exceptional (in hindsight) timing we took three cruises in January-February before the virus hit but have stuck to car travel since then.  Staying off airplanes and cruise ships has saved us a bunch of money and allowed us to see parts of the country we might have put off if we had continued to fly places.  It looks like that trend will continue in 2021, since the question of when we might expect to receive a vaccine remains a bit of a mystery.  That assumes that the vaccines are actually effective, that we can eventually actually get one and that the virus begins to subside.  Cruises and air travel will likely need to wait until 2022 for us, but there is still a lot of this country to see and we’re ready to go.

Haystack Rock at sunset over the Pacific Ocean from Cannon Beach, Oregon

Staying out of restaurants has been very good for our waistlines and for our budget.  Kathy & I have never been and will never be skinny, but there is a lot less of each of us to haul around these days.  We’ve been making regular donations of too-large clothes to our local Goodwill.  Even now when restaurants have mostly re-opened, we’re finding that we like our own cooking just fine and we continue to lose weight at a reasonable and sustainable pace without “dieting.”  Interestingly, our reaction to a lot of restaurant food now is that it is over-seasoned, over-portioned, overly meat-centric and over-priced.  We’ve got a great source for fresh fish, a nice selection of our own wine, and find that we can dine in for a fraction of the cost of a fancy meal out.  We love our restaurant people and have many friends in the business, but it is an estranged relationship these days.  We weaned ourselves off of junk food years ago and didn’t succumb to the temptation of “comfort food” during the pandemic.

Lunch stop during our tour of Roatan, Honduras during our February 2020 cruise aboard Norwegian Dawn

I took nearly 17,000 photos this year.  Not as many as 2019 when I took over 21,000, but still a lot!  Why so many?  I take a lot of our grandson Edison, and he moves so fast most of them are blurry!  The number of photos that are actually worth keeping will be far less but remains to be seen as I’m still working on them.  I did get a new camera this year, which was fun, and I have enjoyed working with it and the constantly updated software to process the files.

Perrine Memorial Bridge over the Snake River in Twin Falls, Idaho

We have a lot to be thankful for from 2020 despite all of the negative happenings, and we have plenty of reason to look forward to 2021.  I don’t know how it will all shake out, but the best we can hope for is to get to 12/31/21 in at least as good a shape as we got to the finish line of 12/31/20.  My primary goal is to keep a positive outlook, to find the silver lining in every situation and seek out the positive wherever I need to go to find it!

Shoshone Falls on the Snake River near Twin Falls, Idaho

The photos here are just a selection from the friends and family we were able to visit with this past year and who we look forward to seeing again this coming year!

Boat cruise on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with Jeff and Mary Pat
Jeff Curto and Mary Pat Larue during our cruise on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Jim & Lisa at Seneca Point in Cook Forest State Park in Pennsylvania
Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Bill & Cathy aboard Carnival Breeze
Bill & Cathy, Tom & Kathy in the dining room aboard Carnival Breeze
Jim & Tom atop the Historic Fire Tower #9 in Cook Forest State Park in Pennsylvania
Breakfast with Monte at The Chicken Coop Restaurant in Fort Collins, Colorado
Edison loves Grandma!
Pine cone inspection
World’s Largest Barber Pole in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Mailbox in Casey, Illinois
Grandma & Edison reading Cars & Trucks & Things That Go
Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway, part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in eastern Nevada near Elko
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
Roatan Rum Shop in Roatan, Honduras
Roatan Rum Shop in Roatan, Honduras during our February 2020 cruise aboard Norwegian Dawn
Scott and Edison on Mother’s Day 2020
Quarry Exhibit Hall and the wall of dinosaur bones at Dinosaur National Monument near Jensen, Utah
Monte taking Kathy’s picture sitting on “his” rock along the Foothills Trail at the Reservoir Ridge Natural Area in Fort Collins, Colorado
North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina
Fall along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Licklog Ridge Overlook MP 349
Capella on 9 rooftop bar and tapas restaurant at the AC Hotel by Marriott Hotel in downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Nike Missile Base Historic Area in Everglades National Park, Florida
Wine tasting at Ken Wright Cellars tasting room in Carlton, Oregon


It’s A Wrap – Our Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Fort Scott National Historic Site in Fort Scott, Kansas

I’ve finally finished processing all of my picks from our Pacific Northwest road trip!

The last two stops were Fort Scott National Historic Site in Fort Scott, Kansas and George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond, Missouri.

Fort Scott National Historic Site in Fort Scott, Kansas
Fort Scott National Historic Site in Fort Scott, Kansas
Fort Scott National Historic Site in Fort Scott, Kansas

The two things we most wanted to do in Fort Scott were (1) visit the fort and (2) visit the Gordon Parks Museum.  The trip from Fort Larned took longer than we expected, so we arrived at the fort just as they were shutting down for the day.  Fortunately, a kind ranger was able to arrange for Kathy to get her Passport book stamped, and we were only able to see the outsides of the buildings.

Fort Scott, Kansas

The Gordon Parks Museum is part of Fort Scott Community College, and the college was closed at the time we passed through.  So that will need to be reserved for a future trip.  The town of Fort Scott was very quaint with a number of interesting looking shops and restaurants, so it’s likely that we’ll make a point of getting back there at some point.

Old train station in Fort Scott, Kansas
Fort Scott, Kansas

After spending the night in Joplin, MO we stopped at George Washington Carver National Monument the next day enroute to our last overnight in Clarksville, TN.  We had always thought of Carver as the “peanut guy” but he did far more than that.  It was another unexpectedly educational visit.  After our night in Clarksville we “took the last train” and drove home through Tennessee while (unsuccessfully) dodging heavy thunderstorms!

George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond, Missouri
George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond, Missouri
George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond, Missouri
George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond, Missouri
George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond, Missouri

All in all we drove a total of 8,230 miles over 25 days, and I took nearly 4,500 photos.  My picks brought the total down to 1,745 and there are just over 800 photos in the 10 online galleries.

I now have a complete collection of photos from our road trip in my Adobe Portfolio page here.