Grover Sanschagrin at PhotoShelter selected one of my photos for his blog post 10 Cool Photos of Water Drops. Thanks Grover!
As I was letting the dogs out yet again this evening, I noticed the setting sun was illuminating large thunderheads to the east. There were storm clouds all around and some occasional thunder, but the lightning wasn’t too good. It reminded me of my early days as a newspaper photographer when I made one of my all-time favorite photos. There was a large thunderstorm rolling across the flat fields of Central Indiana. I drove down a small country road to where lightning was hitting behind a farm house. So I stopped in the road, got out my tripod and made a great shot of lighting coming through a cloud and lighting up the farmhouse. I was pretty proud of the shot until everyone at the paper pointed out how stupid I was to be standing out in the middle of a field where the tallest object was my metal tripod.
I was watching the HBO mini-series John Adams last night. It didn’t really do much for me, I hate tippy camera angles, especially video. But it did strike me how much the men, and their families, put on the line when they signed the Declaration of Independence. They risked their freedom, their wealth and their life. The TV show tried to show how the men had a feeling of “now what?” after they voted to declare independence. Tomorrow I’m heading to Alaska to visit my 49th state. I’m thankful our forefathers had the vision to create a country where freedom reigns and gives me the possibility of doing anything I strive to do.
It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Seeing my picket fence reflecting in my bird bath will do it.
It seemed like the weather couldn’t decide if it was going to storm or clear off this evening, which made for some nice clouds and color just before sunset.
I walked out the door this morning to go work feeling fairly blue about not being in Vermont and out amongst nature. I opened the garage door and looked down the alley behind our house. There was a bump on the asphalt that looked a lot like a turtle. It is about two blocks to a little creek, so it was pretty strange to see a decent size box turtle crawling around. Of course, I went over to say hi and welcome him to the neighborhood. We had a little portrait session and then I picked him up and took him across the street near the brook. His belly was scratched from crawling on the pavement but he looked to be in good condition. After I was sure he wouldn’t have to cross the street again, it hit me how diverse New Jersey is and even though there are more people per square mile than any other state, there also seems to be more wildlife.
After dinner I pulled a chair out into the backyard and just looked up and watched the sky. It was a clear day with a few light clouds rolling past. Being 35 miles from NYC and Newark airport, there is almost always a jet flying by, some days we are on the landing pattern, some days they are just leaving when they pass over Somerville. Tonight was a landing night. As I was watching the clouds and planes, a few birds were buzzing around. Up high were swallows, down around the trees were robins and starlings.
After a long, wet ride along the Jersey shore through sand, salt and crushed sea shells, my bike was a mess. So it got its first bath of the year after I got home from work. I took a bike repair class at High Gear Cyclery before I did my cross country ride. I thought it might be smart to be able to fix my bike if I broke down in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t use any of the repair knowledge on the trip, but High Gear was kind enough to loan me a spare set of wheels that did come in handy a couple times when Dan popped some spokes. One thing I did learn that I use frequently is how to really clean a bicycle. Now my bike is really clean and ready for some more riding.
After being away all weekend, it is good to be home and get some rest. I’m still worn out from the long bike ride. There are a couple times a year when I look at our garage in the back yard and the sun is sweeping across the end.
We had a recent additional to the household – Zian, another Bernese Mountain Dog. Zian is about the same size as Sophie, our other Berner. That gives us about 170 pounds of dog in a house that should have about 50 pounds of dog. Zian and I were out in the yard this morning as the first light of the day came streaming across his head. It sure made him smile.
After I got home from work, I thought I would walk down to a nearby park and see what was there. It was another rainy, gray day and I needed to find something good to lift my mood. I threw my tripod over my shoulder and headed toward the gate. Like I’ve said before, our yard isn’t an arboretum. There’s really only about four flowers growing in the yard and the dogs think plants are for stomping. At the side of the house are a few small iris. They are only about an inch or two long, but the closer I looked the more I liked them. I ended up spending about 20 minutes just looking at things in the yard. Nothing is spectacular or probably even special, but there are lots of little neat things. I enjoyed looking at the neighbor’s nice ivy wrapping around our wood fence, the weathered, wooden fence looked neat when I looked closely at it. I soon noticed my blue mood had gone away and I was feeling pretty good.
We don’t spend much time working in the yard, and it shows. Every couple of years we get out there and play around, so we don’t have much growing that is pretty. Fortunately, our neighbor does. Peeking through the fence is a pretty clematis, a lovely flower that climbs up and around the fence.
After dinner, I noticed the moon was setting and just a slice was illuminated. I loved the way it looked, so when I got home, I got out the camera and made some shots from my back yard.
I woke up and it was rainy. Went to work, rain. Watched out my office window all day as the rain fell. The sky was solid gray all day. People were grumpy all day. I left work and it was misting, hey better than rain. So what better day to shoot some flowers in the back yard? Our yard isn’t exactly ready for a magazine, OK I had about three different things to choose from, so I went to the iris. The raindrops look good.
The always-cool New York Times Lens blog thought it would be cool to have people around the world take a picture at the same time and send it in. The time they picked was at 11 a.m. EDT today. So I went out in the back yard with the dogs and made some shots. Sophie had her big, stuffed monkey and was bouncing around the yard with it. I made a bunch of pictures and being the old photo editor that I am, I couldn’t decide which photo to use. The choice came down to a rather traditional shot of Sophie and the toy with plenty of yard visible. For this documentary subject, I thought this might be the best shot to send.
My other choice was a very close shot of Sophie shot with a very wide angle lens. It is cooler visually, but doesn’t have any context.
Which one do you think I should have sent?