These are the favorites of my favorite pictures. Don’t ask me what makes a picture an all-time favorite. It might be a really good picture, it might hold a special memory, or who knows what.
One of the early photographs I took when I bought my first digital camera. I’ve always liked this image, but it has always produced a ‘meh’ response from others. That was probably because while I could visualize the original scene in my mind’s eye; you had to be there to feel it. I decided to re-process the photograph in 2017 to bring out the dramatic nature of the view I originally saw.
Fawley Oil Refinery, Southampton Water, Hampshire, UK.
In the summer I sleep in the garden;
I don’t rough it; I have a sofa bed, which stays indoors over winter while the air is damp. In October I vowed to spend one night a month sleeping out and last night was February’s turn. It was a cool night, hence the duvet and sleeping bag.
I just love my Fuji Finepix F30 camera to bits.
I recently wrote that I had yet to capture the ‘essence’ of myself. This, I think might be it, probably my most personal self portrait to date. Though I doubt most people will be able to ‘see’ it. Day 82 of my 2007 365 Days project.
Work on renovating the hall has begun.
Today we took down the ceilings on the middle and ground landings and my work room. we also took out the wall between the landing and my work room.
There was no way I was letting my camera into the the dust and dirt, so I took this shot during a break after the dust had settled. The light is great here – note to self, paint this wall white!
When I took this picture my ‘artistic’ notion was to challenge the idea of modesty. Can a naked person be modest? It’s all in the mind. There’s also something about omitting the head to make the image impersonal and also preserve the anonymity of the model. It’s a great juxtaposition of ideas and imagery. I also had a technical objective to get a picture straight out of camera with no post-processing. Which, looking back, I think resulted in a softer less striking image.
The above picture is a reworking of the original black and white picture I took in 2007. I much prefer this duotone treatment.
Below is the original, plus another shot trying out a different pose.
Original caption: “Best part of three weeks away and I’m overrun by ironing.”
When I took the original version of this picture I had just returned to the UK from my first visit to see Ginger in the US.
The washer dying today reminded me of the photograph, it was a rejected picture from my 2007, 356 days project (day 239). I re-edited it as a photoshop exercise (I need practice with some of the tools), and at the same time I wanted make a better picture. I introduced some negative space, fixed my missing toes, and removed the badly edited background from the original.
A spectacular sunset and South Parade Pier, Southsea
I’ve been going back looking for pictures I’ve accidentally missed. This is one of them, a fantastic panoramic view of a sunset and South Parade Pier in Southsea.
I remember the evening well. Despite sunsets being photographically overdone, this one could not be ignored. Considering this is five handheld photographs stitched together it’s not surprising I didn’t process it at the time. Good inexpensive software that enables this sort of image to be made is a fairly recent arrival on the scene – well for me anyway.
Image updated/created December 20, 2014 from original pictures taken on October 18, 2007.
I spotted this picture while waiting for a train. I (correctly) judged I’d have just enough time to run over and get the picture before the train arrived.
I was playing with my webcam, and I rather liked the results…
One of my all-time favorite pictures.
This is an unusual post-processing technique for me. Though I like the original picture, it felt a bit sterile. I prefer this take on it.
The contrast between the blue and the yellow caught my eye, but my plan when I took it was to take out all the colour except the awning. Years later I prefer the full colour version.
It is about time the blanket box1 made a re-appearance, though it is not actually visible in the picture.
The question is: am I inventive enough to keep the blanket box pictures going for a whole week?
1‘Blanket box’ is is a reference to a small wooden blanket box, often visible and sometimes, as in this picture, hidden. It was often used as a prop to stand, sit, kneel, and on this occasion, lay on.
Back in August, I was asked if I would mind if one of my nude photographs was used for a drawing.
I don’t really understand why, but at first, I was very reluctant. I’ll admit that to be asked was flattering, I don’t think anyone has ever asked to draw me before (or since!). As my photographs are ‘out there’ for people to see, and the artist had taken the time to contact me, I thought it would be churlish to say no. I decided to keep quiet about it. My main concern was that I hadn’t seen any of the artist’s previous work.
I had no need to worry. The preliminary sketches were very good, so it was just a matter of waiting for the artist, Nathan to finish the piece.
Today I got an email and a link to the completed picture, and I was able to surprise Ginger with a link. So, Nathan, thanks for asking, and thank you for an excellent drawing.
Update: On November 20, 2008, a group of friends presented me with a copy of this drawing printed on canvas as a going-away present for my emigration to the US. I’m not sure how they got a hold of a copy of the original but I was quite touched.
At four pm on 20 February 2009 we got married. Below are a small sample of the 800-odd photographs we have of the day. Many thanks to Erica Turner for the super job she did in capturing our day for us.
As this is a long post we’ve broken it up into more manageable chunks:
- Getting ready for the wedding
- The wedding ceremony
- Our wedding reception in Ebbets Field bar
- The text of Jonathan’s homily and Gary’s speech
The wedding ceremony
Our wedding reception in Ebbets Field bar
This is what Jonathan said on our behalf during the wedding service.
In our lives, we all have expectations as to how things are going to turn out. As we proceed through our days, we see our future planned out ahead of us and we trust that certain things are always going to be true.
We know what we expect our career to be, how our dreams are going to unfold, and deep inside we all hope and pray to find a mate that completes us and makes us feel loved and understood. We are all looking for a soul mate… a best friend and partner…. whether we admit it or not.
But life never really works out the way we expect.
Gary and Ginger were going through the motions of their lives, separately, on different continents, in different and, as they found out, in many ways, in parallel worlds. One day these parallel lives crossed paths. And everything changed. You see, they knew instantly that they had found the fulfillment of that lifelong hope. Before they ever heard each others’ voices, they knew that they wanted to share their lives forever in some way or another. Today we have the pleasure of seeing the beginning of the fulfillment of that partnership as we gather together to witness the marriage of Gary and Ginger.
That was the beautiful homily that Ginger and Gary wrote.
I will add only a little.There is an interesting concept in both hard science and science fiction. It concerns parallel worlds. Physicists postulate that parallel worlds – or universes are implied by some of their important theories. And science fiction writers find it a useful tool for their characters to pop in and out and get from here to way, way out there with ease.
The interesting parts, for the scientists and the fictional characters, are the convergences — the points and moments where the parallels cease and the real encounters begin.
I have found that those encounters are usually unexpected.
Now we may expect something, we may have hopes and dreams, but those convergences can exceed even our outlandish hopes. Think back to the time just before you two met. Could you possibly imagine the relationship that you have now? Could you possibly dream that you would be in love, and sitting in a church — Gary in a place called the Ozarks, and about to get married? God is fully aware of the parallel worlds in which we live. And it is God’s business to make the convergences real and effective for us — to bring people together in love. The old-fashioned term is ― grace. It works even on the new-fangled Internet. It worked for you.
And we are privileged to witness God’s grace at work in your lives. The fact that you are together and your love for one another gives us real hope for the grace that each of us needs.
Thank you for being open to God’s work in your lives. Thank you for inviting us into your love. To paraphrase Solomon, many waters — not even the wide waters of the Atlantic Ocean can quench love.
Welcome everyone. Before we start here are some domestic arrangements. Please feel free to order from one of the menus we have provided, if you choose to order off the standard menu you’re on your own! We have arranged a dessert, so make sure you leave plenty of room. However, if you don’t like cheesecake you are going to be out of luck. There is a tab at the bar, once that’s gone you’ll have to start buying us drinks. But please stay as long as you like. The facilities by the way, are just along the corridor.
Maintaining the informality of our day, you’ll be pleased to hear we haven’t planned lots of speeches and toasts, but I would like to say a few words on behalf of the two of us before the festivities proper commence.
Life is a journey driven by our dreams. Dreams are strange things, when we are young we have such wonderful dreams of how our lives will play out, everything is black and white, and everything is possible. Then the reality checks set in, and we find that rather than being black and white, life tends to be a grey blur. Our dreams get buried under responsibilities and day to day trivia. Then over time they get forgotten and lost.
Ginger and I are lucky and have been able to rediscover our dreams. And one of those dreams was to be together. The journey toward that particular dream started some twenty months ago, it has been a journey of sharing and discovery. To get to today we’ve traveled the equivalent of twice around the planet, exchanged over three and a half thousand e-mails and at one point racked up what felt like the equivalent of the national debt of a small country in ‘phone bills. We’ve also had to battle bureaucracy, jump through endless hoops of red tape and we still have lots more hoops to dance through.
In the beginning our dream was just that, a dream. Before we had spoken to one another we were best friends and we wanted to be together to share our friendship. Once we started talking we quickly fell in love.
We decided we wanted to get married over a month before we first met in person, our friend Rebbie was partially responsible for that particular revelation. Ginger and Rebbie had a girls lunch out celebrating Ginger’s birthday, and when I spoke to Ginger she was, shall we say, a little the worse for wear. I’m not sure quite what I said, but Ginger retorted along the lines of ‘I won’t have a marriage like that.’ I of course being the mature responsible adult I am, retorted, ‘You said the M word, you said the M word…’ but we both agreed that that was exactly where we were headed, and where we wanted to be.
Just over a month later, we met for the first time in the arrivals area of Springfield airport. I stopped to ask the security guard where to collect my bags, and as I stepped away I caught a glimpse of someone running towards me. Ginger nearly knocked me over. I suppose we just meant to have a hug and say hello, but the hug and tears quickly turned into a kiss, and within a few seconds of meeting we both knew for sure that this was it.
We never wavered from our goal. Even when we began thinking of all the obstacles that had to be overcome. Even when we forgot how the other felt. Even when we faced the normal misunderstandings that every couple has. Even when we were falling asleep on the phone and trying to fit in a relationship into two busy lives six hours apart. We were committed to Us. And that meant diving head first into the unknown. We had so much to learn. About the process, and about each other.
We’ve discovered that despite living on different continents we have surprisingly similar backgrounds, we discovered that we are almost identical; two sides of the same coin. We both think the same way, have the same interests and personality traits – for good and ill.
As part of our preparation for our marriage we completed a questionnaire for Jonathan. I think even he was surprised, as he told us, that if he didn’t know better he would have thought that we cheated and just one person answered a lot of the questions. Of course we aren’t completely identical, we may have the same colour eyes, be the same height, and able to share shoes and gloves, but there are significant (and beyond the obvious differences) I’m organised while Ginger has lots of systems in place to try and be organised. I’m quietly stubborn, while Ginger is well, Ginger!
So here we are celebrating the completion of one journey, which by and large we traveled apart, and the start of our new journey together as husband and wife. Our dream now is to have a happy and fulfilling life together, though as Ginger has observed, happily ever after still means you have to clean house and pick up after kids.
The important thing is we have our dreams, and our message to you is don’t forget your dreams.
Finally, on a personal note, I’d like to thank all those involved in making today a success, I would also like to thank my family and friends, those present and absent, for their support during what has been for all of us, a difficult journey at times. And to all of you, my new family and friends, thank you for your generous support and welcome.
Footnote: The astute may have noticed that I stole a couple of paragraphs of the above from my work leaving speech. I’m sure I can be forgiven for plagiarizing some of my own words.
Our resident Cat lady and Tubby, one of our four cats. Ginger must have known I was going to take a picture – she’s not wearing her glasses.
For some odd reason the lighting tonight seemed to have a little extra zing. Maybe it was because Ginger doesn’t normally sit in that particular spot. Whatever, I knew exactly what I wanted to capture, and my lovely little Fuji worked its photographic magic.
We were up early and ventured down to the lakeside to see the sunrise.
Fortunately the water was still very warm as I had to wade in up to my waist to get this picture of two fishermen who were quietly trolling the lake.
The peace, tranquility, light, and mist on the water more than made up for being up at six-thirty.
Tom took me night fishing on Stockton Lake, and despite a slow start we managed to catch some nice fish. The sunset over the lake was absolutely stunning. You can read about our evening here: Night fishing on Stockton Lake, Missouri
November 29, 2016. It took until now before I finally got round to producing an edit of this picture that I really like. I needed a picture to go with a post I was making today, so I decided this photograph captured what I wanted to express. I actually used a square crop (for Instagram) and duo-toned it a tad more aggressively for a stronger appearance.
Today we managed to escape the kids for the first time in three days.
Last night, I found the leftovers of a bottle of Scotch (thanks Mick!), and drank a silent toast to Chris who died early this morning (UK time). He enjoyed his whisky and we have enjoyed many a dram over the years. It seemed a fitting end to the day.
Today is a new day and yet another snow day for the schools in Springfield, and our Youth Minister at Church volunteered to take the Youth Group kids for some snow day fun. I, for one, wasn’t going to try and dissuade her, the thought of nearly six hours to ourselves was far too good to turn down. At eleven I took the kids to Church, and I was surprised how bad the roads were, only the major roads have been plowed. At Church I checked if there was anything I needed to be doing and inspected the huge pile of snow in the next door parking lot before returning home.
Once home, we had to get a parcel in the post and then the day was ours. Which was a problem as we don’t have the right footwear for hiking in a foot of snow and the lakes are frozen so Kayaking was out of the question. We ended up going down to Ozark and visiting a couple of flea markets (or Antique Malls as they style themselves), where I drooled over some oil lamps, Coleman lamps and some very nice cameras. The light coming from some of the display cabinets was very nice, which is where I took today’s picture.
Today’s out takes and alternate pictures37.215326-93.298244
Today the sun shone and the temperatures began to rise.
Last night we stayed up late watching Dogma and enjoying a beer. Which was a bit foolish as we had to be up early for Alek, who took his ACT test today.
Once up I spent a lazy morning on the computer tending blogs. This afternoon I took advantage of the warmer weather to move the van out of the garage, clean the garage floor (again), and then start work on my Mark II huaraches. No sooner did I turn the scroll saw on than the blade broke. Fitting a new blade I discovered the spare blade I had wasn’t the right length, so I ended up cutting the soles out with scissors, which wasn’t easy. I took this picture while I was removing the broken blade from the scroll saw. There’s an extra picture of me drilling holes in the soles of my huaraches for the binding. Thus far the Mark IIs while looking better than the Mark Is are not proving as effective. More research required.
Today’s other pictures:37.215326-93.298244
I love my little Fuji Finepix F30 compact, it produces such ‘painterly’ pictures.
Today we are building a “batch-loaded, inverted downdraft gasifier” wood stove out of old tin cans.
But before I could do that we had a few chores to complete, not least to go out and find a suitable mesh for the bottom of the burner. I found something – a shower strainer for $1.68. Once the chores were out of the way I started trying to work out the best way to build my MK-I stove, which kept me occupied for a couple of hours. The reasons for trying this are (1) it’s fun, (2) carrying a stove and fuel adds around 2-3 lb to my pack. A stove like this should weigh around 4 oz, and it should also be smaller than the stove, and (3) did I mention it’s fun? Anything involving power tools and fire has to be. In the picture, I’m lining up the outer casing before drilling the air inlet holes.
With a favorable (ie 40°F) temperature predicted for the night, I set up the solo tent in the backyard so that I could do a ‘backyard test’ of my new sleeping bag. Before retiring to my tent we tried out the stove. It was not a complete success, it seemed that the ash was blocking the mesh in the bottom of the burner, causing the fire to die out through lack of air.
With plans to modify the burner in the morning, I went to bed and spent a very toasty night in my new GoLite 1+ Season quilt. I was almost too warm. Contrary to the earlier forecast the overnight temperature only dropped to just below 50°F. The lowest overnight temperature in the tent was 48.5°F – aren’t modern electronic gadgets wonderful! We have a max/min electronic thermometer called a ‘Dangler’, we found for $10.
My conclusion is that with a base layer the bag ought to be good for use from around 35°F. Which considering its 1 lb 4 oz weight and 8″ x 6″ stuffed size is pretty darn good.
Today’s alternate shots & extras37.215326-93.298244
You can read about today here.
Sitting waiting in the car is one of the few places and times I get a chance to stop and think.
We’ve spent the past couple of days researching a replacement camera for my currently defunct Nikon. It’s come down to the Nikon D7000 and Canon 60D and it’s been a very tough (and long) decision process. I must have spent 20 plus hours reading reviews and studying pictures. I think I’ve now come to a conclusion, and I’m going to sleep on it before going out and splashing the cash.
In a masochistic attempt at relaxation I agreed to take Katie to the mall and then out for a driving lesson. While waiting at the mall I relaxed, wrote some notes, and took my daily picture. The driving lesson couldn’t be classed as relaxing. I didn’t realise teaching a fifteen-year-old to drive was on my list of step-fatherly duties when I signed up. In the UK we have driving schools, you can’t drive until you’re seventeen, and there are ‘L’ plates to save parents this sort of trial.
Today’s alternate shot37.215326-93.298244
This Larchwood path was part of our Comrie hike. I remember as a kid larchwoods being depicted as dark and spooky. They are! This is one image of three that I am thinking of printing as a triptych.
Taken from the top of a 400 foot cliff near Little Gruinard.
Today looked like being the last nice day for a while so we took Lanie out fishing on the James River. It was a wonderfully warm and a very pleasant afternoon. Not that either Lanie or I caught anything apart from leaves and trees.
This was our view of Truman lake first thing Saturday morning. Wonderful. Ginger got a better picture of this, but I’m quite happy with this image.
As we had to be in Kansas City Sunday to pick up a group of youth group kids, we decided to drive up to Berry Bend Friday afternoon and camp Friday and Saturday. The campground is 100 miles nearer to Kansas City, so we could get away without an early start Sunday. Our plan: to get some R&R and time in our kayaks out on the lake.
You can read a full write up of our weekend and see a lot more pictures in our post on Ozarks Walkabout.
The Easter Vigil is one of my favorite services
I knew I wanted to get a candlelight picture. In my mind I thought it would be of all the congregation. However, I saw this picture which I had to take ‘around’ Lanie who was sitting next to me. This is the shot I saw and wanted to get. It is not the picture I took – as I had the wrong lens on the camera. To achieve the very narrow depth of field I wanted, I added the lens blur in post processing.
I used this photograph as the cover picture for the first Spirit Magazine I edited and produced (Volume 6 No. 2 – April 2014).
Vacation Day 12 – Tied up for the night
We tried anchoring in a sheltered spot in Horsea Mere, but the wind was too strong for the mud anchor and we started dragging it almost immediately. I prefer to anchor well away from everyone, but unless I was prepared to stay up all night on ‘anchor watch’, we had to move. We motored back to the river and found a fairly quiet mooring for the night. And while I was watching the weather Ginger took this great picture of me.
Here’s a picture I took of Lanie at the the same time.
Vacation Day 20 – Widemouth Bay, Cornwall
There seems to be a recurring theme here. Minutes after arriving at Bob and Ann’s and we were off out for a walk. After a couple of hundred miles driving I was more than happy to take in the evening sea breeze. And what a glorious sunset it was too.
Vacation Day 20 – Widemouth Bay, Cornwall
A last look at the sunset before we head back.
I popped out of the diocesan office in Kansas City for a meeting and found myself in a pastiche of Sydney, Australia.
Despite the 25°F temperature I had to stop and take a picture, the light and colors were just too good to miss.
It was a long day – We left at 06:30 a.m. and got back around 8:30 p.m. fortunately I wasn’t doing the driving today. I left that to Fr. David. We should have stopped and got a picture of the sunrise. That too, was quite spectacular.
Sometimes while I’m working I spot a picture that I want to take for myself,
this is the second of the two pictures I took while documenting the area confirmation service at St. James’ here in Springfield. I was taking a last look around the church for any little architectural details I might want to get a picture of when I noticed this scene. I immediately thought it might work with a small amount of post processing – it was very dark, with no lights on.
I am very pleased with the result, though I wished I’d seen how exactly I’d lined up the Paschal Candle with the window frame. If I had noticed, I would have changed the angle slightly.
The visibility was terrible, but I’ve been able to clean it up a little.
The church in the foreground is St. Michael & All Angel’s Church, Hathersage. The imposing white building in the distance turned out to be the less than imposing Hope Cement Works.
The original image
When I say the visibility was terrible — it really was, as can be seen in this unprocessed version. But, I won’t be returning to take another picture so I had to make the most of the picture I have. Of course it does beg the question of how much post-processing is too much.
This was a picture I took partly for work, and partly for myself. I needed a picture of Jonathan to accompany an article, and I also wanted to get a good picture of my EFM Mentor, friend, and the priest who officiated at our wedding.
Many people have asked how I got him to smile like that. Well, that’s between the two of us. Let’s just say I made an indecent remark and leave it there.
I really like the full frame version of this image, but I love how this close-in crop brings out what I call a ‘painterly rendering’ from the camera.
It is a completely different camera and sensor, but it manages to remind me of the way my Fujifilm F30 produced pictures. That little point and shoot camera was capable of out-shooting my Nikon DSLR at times.
Lanie had an ensemble role in this year’s school musical – Big Fish. She had seven costumes and 14 costume changes, including appearing three times as a mermaid. I admit I’ve not tried to spot/count all the costumes and their various appearances.
As we’ve come to expect, the musical was excellent. The cast, crew, and musicians did a wonderful job. The lighting appeared to be more challenging (darker) than in other recent shows, and I wish wearing hats on stage was banned, as the resulting shadows are impossible to avoid. However, these technical issues are purely my own, based on trying to take pictures. The show was really good and I enjoyed it no-end. We enjoyed it so much, that after watching Saturday’s Matinee we rented the movie to see what the differences were.
These pictures are taken from the opening night, which also marks the first forage into the theater for my Fujifilm X-E2s camera. I remain very pleased with the Fuji, and it has the added bonus of being completely silent. I am impressed.
Regardless of the camera, shooting live theater isn’t easy. I’m just a dad, sitting in the theater, hand-holding the camera trying to take pictures in the dark. It doesn’t help that you’ve no clue of where the cast is going to move to next, and what the lighting technician is (or isn’t) going to do. There’s a lot of spray and pray involved. I do wish that Fuji would allow you to change the color of the framing graticule – and also provide an edge graticule. In the dark, it is often hard to determine if the image edge is dark or if you’ve cut something off.
Processing the pictures is a big job. I could limit myself to just taking pictures of Lanie. But, taking pictures of as much of the show as possible is one way in which I can contribute something. I want all the kids to have a chance of a decent memento of their time on stage, should they want them.
Full resolution pictures can be found in the ‘Big Fish’ Flickr album.
I recently visited a friend who is converting a barn on their property into a wedding and event venue. While I was there I took a few pictures.
This is probably an unrepeatable picture, as very shortly the clear pane is going to be replaced with frosted glass.
Their website: www.storybookbarnmo.com
I like this crop so much I wish I’d taken this as a separate picture. However, the wider shots I took came out pretty good too. It was a bit of a nuisance shooting into the light like that and required a fair bit of post-processing to remove the worst effects of the excessive light.
If one is serious about this type of picture you either use HDR – I didn’t have a tripod with me so that was out of the question, or you can fit a dark film outside the window, I didn’t have any film either. So post-processing it was. No surprises that the HDR option is most popular. Fitting film is a trick sometimes used in video production.
Their website: www.storybookbarnmo.com
When I noticed the sunlight dappling the flower I decided to take the picture, no matter how twee hibiscus flower pictures are.
Thinking about it; for a better shot I should have got the sunlight in the background behind the stamen.
Art galleries and museums are often dimly lit places. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is no different, and working in the dark provides challenges and rewards. I came to Crystal Bridges hoping to be inspired, I was.
I wanted to capture the timelessness of the sculpture juxtaposed with the transient passage of the visitors, so I opted for a very long exposure. Angles were limited by where I could find a wall to brace against (tripods not permitted). This is a 3.2 second exposure. It took several shots to get ‘the one’ as I had no way to predict where people would go and what they would do while I was taking the picture.
‘Chimping’ the photo, I was so pleased with it, I knew I’d already got my ‘picture of the day’.
Here are a few of the ‘runners up’.
By the way, do I need to mention yet again how much I love my Fujifilm X-E2s camera?
I couldn’t get the camera to brace for a long exposure in portrait orientation (I’ve since worked out I need to rotate it until the eyepiece is against the wall / corner, which is a bit awkward to use). So I went for another wide shot showing the museum’s visitors.
The Bubble. Artist: Harriet Whitney Frishmuth (1880 – 1980). Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Unfortunately, this gallery was closed. It made up for it by making a great picture though.
Crystal Bridges Art Museum, Arkansas.
This photograph is begging to have its story told. Which is appropriate given the name of the venue — Storybook Barn. I wonder what that story might be?
Notes. Every now and then I feel that I may have hit my photographic jackpot. I think this might be one of those times. The composition of this picture is mine. The couple walking into the frame at just the right moment as I was taking it; unplanned and perfect. I’ve released the color version, which I also like, to the customer. However, my creative side insisted that I also make this personal black and white edit. Film noir? I don’t know, maybe. That’s up to you to decide.
Another personal edit taken from last week’s event.
Inner circle, outer circle, circle of friends, circle of trust, running in circles, circles … everywhere.
You have to hike the White Trail as it runs along-side Camp Creek to get to the Orange Trail. This is one of my favorite pictures from today’s hike.
You can see the rest of today’s pictures here.
I’m really struggling to decide which one of these two pictures I prefer.
I like them both.
A short 3 mile hike on the Silver trail at Busiek.
The great thing about using a camera with an Electronic View Finder (EVF) is that what you see, is pretty much what you get.
This bleached out picture isn’t the result of a lot of post-processing, it is the picture I wanted to capture when I saw the mass of debris at the side of the trail.
I did increase the contrast and darken the blacks a bit in post, but I think I could have easily fixed that in the camera if I’d taken the time to fiddle with some of the settings.
The lower ground alongside the creek took quite a beating during the recent rain and this area must have looked very impressive when Woods Fork flooded — it would have been at least a quarter mile wide when it was fully running.
I wanted a better picture of me by the cab to replace the one we took here on February 17, 2016.
Am I mistaken or do I look a little bit less chubby than I was back in March?
Gary looks out over the Piney Creek Arm of Table Rock Lake.
The evening of Day Two. The afternoon’s rain had stopped and I took a few moments after dinner to sit by the lake and watch the world (mainly herons and bald eagles) go past.
I almost like the black and white version more.
I finished processing this picture a while ago. What’s stopped me posting it (and the associated background images) is that I couldn’t come up with a suitable title for the picture/post. I’ve been mulling it over for days (I’m still not, happy with the title, but I’ve got to move on — updated in 2019 with a marginally better title).
At the beginning of the week, we re-visited Crystal Bridges. We went primarily for the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition and to see the Bachman-Wilson House (Frank Lloyd Wright). Sadly, I thought the O’Keeffe exhibition was disappointing, but the Bachman-Wilson House was great and has provoked a lot of discussions (and watching a series of Grand Designs Australia et al on Netflix during the week)
However, once again, photographically, ‘Sappho’ and ‘The Bubble’ stole the show. Though unlike my first visit, when I knew I’d got the picture I wanted there and then, this time it wasn’t until I’d worked on the image in post-production that I knew that I had nailed it. The problem was that they’ve rearranged the main galleries, and changed the lighting, in my opinion much to the detriment of the art on display. The ambient lighting has been boosted by uplighters that reflect off the wooden ceiling casting a pale yellow pall over everything. Gone is the dark and spotlights.
The Sappho and Bubble statues have been moved, and it was the juxtaposition of the two that intrigued me. It looked like Sappho was shunning Desha Delteil (The model for ‘The Bubble’). The difference in the emotion exuded (represented?) by the two pieces only adds to the tension.
The picture was a pain to frame because of the surrounding artwork (not to mention people constantly wandering into the shot), the external glass door, and a white sticker on the far wall. I tried using Sappho to hide the door, but visually it brought the two sculptures too close together. So I had to use the wider shot that included the door, resisting the temptation to remove it in post.
The lighting though was a different story. That I changed to match my previous visit, removing the ghastly ambient lighting, leaving just the highlights from the spotlights. The choice of black and white for the image was a given. Though, I was interested to see that in the color version, the color and light on the floor draws your eye away from Sappho and onto ‘The Bubble’ making it the focus of the picture (well, for me anyway).
Sappho. Artist: William Wetmore Story (1819 – 1895).
The Bubble. Artist: Harriet Whitney Frishmuth (1880 – 1980).
Our visit to the National Museum of the US Air Force couldn’t have been better timed. In May 2018 the restored Memphis Belle was put on display.
To quote Ginger:
When you can’t get any work done because your cat likes Bach’s Cello Suites as much as you do.
Read the full write up of my trip here.
Day one of three days solo backpacking in Piney Creek Wilderness. 60°
FNot bad for January.
A closer view of Buck
Hollow (to the right,on the opposite side of the lake).
Later in the morning the peace and quiet was shattered when a (presumably) young black bear came crashing through the brush, splashed across Buck Hollow, smashed its way through the underbrush and then swam breathing heavily across to my side of the lake — which had me up and paying attention — 10 minutes or so later the reason for the bear’s flight became obvious when the first of the hounds arrived. In total there were half a dozen hounds and no one to rein them in. It was around an hour later that the hound’s owners turned up on horseback. And for nigh on two
hours,I had to put up with the hound’s endless baying.
The bear’s strategy of crossing the lake was good. The first hound on the scene was close enough for the scent to still be on the water and it worked out where the bear had gone, but it gave up partway through crossing the lake. It was well over an hour later that one hound managed to find a way across the lake and pick up the scent. The bear was long gone by then.
Not the relaxing morning I was looking for.
Where I come from they don’t let the hounds run loose unsupervised for an extended time like that. I’m not impressed. I doubt they even knew what the hounds were chasing and were lucky it was a young timid bear. Timid it might have been, but I’m pretty sure if the hounds had managed to corner it there’d be some dead hounds.
I’ve often said that working for the Church I am privileged to be present at key moments in people’s lives. Unexpectedly that happened at this weekend’s Easter Vigil service.
Officially, I was attending to get some pictures of the Easter Vigil (one of my favorite services) and of the 150th anniversary celebrations that followed. I was secretly hoping to capture another great Easter Vigil candlelight picture, working against me would be an early service with the sun streaming in through the windows.
On arrival, I Checked in with the rector and discovered the order of service would be different. Yay! Candles later, maybe it would be dark. Pre-warned on the non-standard running order, I studied the order of service to work out what was happening when. That was when I discovered there would also be baptisms. Being attached to the diocese and not a church, I don’t get to attend many baptisms, but I do know the drill.
What I wasn’t prepared for was a church so filled with incense smoke so thick you could hardly see from one end to the other. I love chiaroscuro images and I saw a chance to produce a picture in a similar style if I risked shooting into the light. I have to admit it took an awfully long time in post to get the pictures I wanted, but it was well worth the effort. I would like to think they also have a little bit of a renaissance feel to them.
A full album of my pictures from the evening can be seen here.
And it was just as spectacular in color…
And again only this time in color.
Vacation Day 6.
Today we went for a walk. We had lunch, followed by more walking which somehow led to a bar, where we stopped for a drink and then we popped across the road for ice cream.
The light in the restaurant was exceptional (probably due to the subdued light outside, which was in turn due to all the rain). I really like these pictures. There was one more — the best pose, but either me or the camera messed up — I suspect the latter in this instance, so it’s blurred. Shame. We are definitely enjoying the more relaxed approach to this vacation with our fixed residence and no touring.
Part of the rolling chalk downland that surrounds Kingley Vale
We opted to hike the trail counter-clockwise. The trail starts and ends running around the boundary of Kingly Vale. The first leg has open views across the fields to the southeast, it then turns left, heads northwest and starts to climb. That’s where I grabbed this picture.
The fence-line to the left is part of Kingly Vale’s boundary and marks where the trail runs northeast until it turns north into the woodland across the top of the vale. You might expect that this is the view you will see from the trail. Unfortunately, it’s not. There is a steep and bramble covered bank topped by a barbed-wire fence between the trail and this view. The foreground is in shadow for a reason. This section of the trail runs through a heavily wooded area and those trees are casting the shadow.
I caught a glimpse of the field from the trail and climbed the bank and fought my way a few feet through the brambles to get to the fence and a clear view. The play of light on the field and woods as the clouds drifted over was more than worth the effort. The resulting picture is, as Ginger would say, a very “Gary” photograph.
I have a confession to make. There was a feed bag or trash bag mounted on a couple of poles on the skyline in the middle of the frame. It was a huge visual distraction. At the time, I pondered how best to get a good picture with it there. In the end, I decided to edit it out afterward. Which is exactly what I did.
It was shortly after 1:00 p.m. When I signed in at the trailhead register. There were two vehicles parked at the trailhead, and two people had signed in on the Pees Hollow Trail. It was overcast, around 50ºF, with a cold wind blowing. My hunch about the huaraches was correct, I set off at a good pace, and much to my surprise I only got one stone trapped on the footbed during the entire hike — both in and out. I met a couple on the trail. If they were the people signed in to the Pees Hollow trail, they’d either missed the trail start (easily done) or extended their hike.
The predicted overnight temperatures were 30°F. It dropped to 21°F. Fortunately, I’d anticipated this and I was nice and warm in my hammock. One of the marginal advantages of getting older is the need for rising early to answer nature’s call. I awoke to this pre-dawn scene, where the mist had frozen on the shore and nearby trees. The mist over the water was moving very quickly and was wonderful to see (I’ll add a video).
I also watched a beaver swimming in the lake — the beaver took a surprisingly long time to realize I was there and then dived out of view. Several seconds later it made a mistake and surfaced next to the rock I was standing on. I didn’t really get a chance to see it, I just heard a splash, and saw the swirl of water and trail of bubbles as it swam away from the shore.
All in all, it was magic and well worth the minor discomfort of wandering around in the frost.
The light, the seasons, it always different, and there’s always something different going on. On one of my recent trips I said I was looking for my ‘Calm Center.’ I need look no further. This, surely, is it.
Approaching Little Paddy Creek I could hear voices. I was surprised (and secretly pleased) to see that it was the four riders (and their dog) who had passed me on my earlier climb away from Little Paddy Creek. Someone suggested that they must have been talking too much, giving me time to catch up. Someone else pointed out that it was going to be cold crossing the creek in my bare feet. “I’ll be okay,” I said before plunging onward. Actually, it wasn’t too bad. Once on the other side, I took off my pack ready to filter some water and took a few pictures. I missed the best shot, which was as the horses and riders crossed the creek and were silhouetted by the setting sun. Unfortunately, I had just put my camera down and my hands were full of my water filtering gear.
In terms of composition, the picture below is much better, removing the distraction and multiple points of interest created by the horses and the sun. The image below has a strong line leading towards the focal point of the sun. But I prefer the human interest of the riders, which is why I favored that image to head up this post.
The setting sun reminded me that time was getting on, and I needed to be moving. I quickly filtered a liter of water and set off, noting as I did, what looked like a very likely area to camp tomorrow night if I make it this far! As for tonight, I still had to climb out of the hollow up to join the Pig Piney North Loop Trail and get to my planned campsite for the night, a mile or two away.
As I was getting near the top of the ridge (and the junction with the North Loop), dusk was setting in, and I was overtaken again by the group of riders (plus dog. One mustn’t forget the dog). I thought that was a bit odd, as they’d left ahead of me, but I assumed they must have been exploring one of the side trails. They stopped a ways ahead of me, and I noticed a cell phone (presumably GPS) being consulted. Then they turned around and headed back in my direction. “Is there a trail turning right near here?” “Hold on,” says I, “I hope so because that’s where I’m headed. I’ll check my GPS.” A quick look at my GPS (phone) told me I was where I thought I was. “Yes, the junction with the North Loop is around 600 feet further along the trail.” They turned around again and headed off. Fortunately, I’d got my information right for a change, and they were soon on the North Loop of the Big Piney Trail heading northeast. It was starting to get dark, and they were a long way from the Big Piney Trailhead if that was where they were headed. Hopefully, they got to their destination without incident.
I followed them down the trail, and I was soon at the side trail I needed to take to get to my planned camping spot. I was glad to see that my hunch was right, and there was water in the creek, and I quickly left the trail and started bushwhacking along looking for a good place to stop.
The USGS Topo Map for Paddy Creek Wilderness is wrong
It was a puzzle as to how they could have got themselves misplaced when they had a GPS. Then it dawned on me they were probably using the same USGS CalTopo map I was. On my previous visit, I’d noticed that the trail’s position marked on the map was offset to the north by about 240 yards. For that reason, before embarking on this trip, I had downloaded a GPS track of the Big Piney Trail so that I wasn’t relying on my remembering to mentally shift the trail south when navigating. If they were using that map, it would be easy to become misplaced and take the wrong trail.
There I was standing at my desk working when in strides a purposeful Ginger, phone in hand. The rest was pretty much as Ginger describes it herself…
Gary: “What are you doing? Why are we doing this?”
Ginger: “I need a new profile picture.”
Gary: “No, not like that. You’re holding the camera wrong. Wait, I look terrible. Move your hand.”
Ginger: “My wrist doesn’t go like that.”
Gary: “I don’t like the door in the background. Let’s move.”
Ginger: “Okay, that will do it.”
Gary: “That’s quite cute. Just like us.”
I don’t think I’ve mentioned recently how much I love my wonderful wife. I do. Lots! 🙂
I started my day camped about three-quarters of a mile to the west (left) of the Lower Pilot. The sun will set in an hour and a half, and I have to decide where I’m going to camp. Tomorrow’s plan is to hike the Blair
WitchRidge Trail out and back. My original plan was to camp overlooking Long Creek about ½ a mile upstream from The Falls. Considering my options, I decided that I’d camp by The Falls. That would position me nearer to the start of the Blair Ridge Trail. Today was Sunday, the trails were quiet — I’d only met eight people on the trail, two couples, and one small group — there shouldn’t be anyone else camping at The Falls.
I was wrong. There was a couple at The Falls when I arrived. It wasn’t clear if they were going to camp or not, but that decided me to carry on westward towards the overhang campsites I’d visited in May 2019. There was a good spot nearby I fancied trying out. And that was what I did. I arrived at 5 p.m. It was getting dark and cold (the weather was supposed to be getting colder), so I concentrated on making camp, getting my evening meal ready, and not taking pictures.
Notes on the photograph
Firstly, it is worth noting that this picture was taken on my 14-year-old Fuji FinePix F30 point and shoot. Secondly, it’s a combination of two vertically stacked pictures to fit in the play of light in the foreground and the wonderful clouds.
I love the pictures the camera produces, but the problem with the camera is that it is almost impossible for me to see what I’m taking a picture of. Screen technology has improved by leaps and bounds in 14 years. Unfortunately, my eyesight has deteriorated significantly over that same time.
I was hoping for a nice, as in flaming oranges and yellows, sunset. It didn’t happen, but this cloud formation and an otter made up for it. The otter was easy to follow swimming out on the lake, as it left a little trail of reflected light in the dark surface of the water. Then I lost track of it. A few minutes later I saw the otter again. This time it was swimming along parallel to the shore coming towards me. It stopped every couple of yards, lifted its head out of the water, and inspected the land, presumably looking for ottery goodies. I kept very still and didn’t try to take a picture. It was 15 feet from me when it realized I was there. Like an aquatic meerkat, it rose out of the water, stared at me, and then dived. I didn’t see it again.
I have a suspicion it’s the same animal I saw here in 2020.
It’s taken me a while to see the potential in this picture. I like this alternate treatment of the image.
The soft light on a dull rainy day on these flowers Ginger picked and placed on the kitchen table caught my eye.
Taking and post-processing this image sparked a blindingly obvious realization and explained why, behind the scenes, I’ve struggled with my photography over the decades.
I don’t see compositions, I see light. What caught my eye, and what usually catches my eye, is the play of light.
I don’t see compositions, I see light. What caught my eye, and what usually catches my eye, is the play of light. The composition is of little importance to me. And that often results in a disappointing photograph. I spend my time capturing the light, not the picture. The exception to this apparent inner rule appears to be with architecture, where the composition dominates the image.
Now I’ve realized this, can I use this knowledge to improve my shots? We’ll see, probably not. I accept that I’m a documentary photographer with fine art aspirations, not a fine art photographer taking occasional snaps.
This photo started life as a cell phone picture taken by Ginger and sent to the girls. It took on a life of its own when I decided to create my own version this morning. This is the view (sort of) from the sofa in the Farm Cottage.