Friday, December 28, 2012

A Little Circular Thinking For New Years

I recently sent out a twit of: "While planning your future, take a moment to review how you got to your past." Which got me thinking about New Year resolutions and the forward thinking that surrounds them.

 Like everyone else, I too have my list of things I plan to give more psychic energy.  I say that because sometimes in attempting to go forward we need to from time to time take a moment and look back at how far we have come.

So here is my list of circular thinking for the next year:

1. After all your help in encouraging others to live their dreams... do more to live yours!

2. For all those people you said you would never forgive... hope they forgive you as well.

3. Stop signs provide a useful purpose, in traffic! Stop responding to the stop signs in your life!

4. No matter how much you feel the need to tell others what they should be doing... say nothing!

5. Even when you don't want to, vow to speak in a kinder gentler manner to those you encounter.

6. Despite that extra ten pounds, too many bad hair days, and pictures you see in magazines, you really are gorgeous in your own way.

And finally,

7. While you are waiting for the love of your life, decide to love something deeply right now!

8. While giving thought to the list above send it to someone you know and see how long it takes to come back to you.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Cold Enough For You?

I'm working on photos of a recent beach trip from an unusually warm winter here in Florida and realized I was pouring salt into a wound for some because of unusually cold weather throughout the rest of the country. Snow is a fact of life I left in Colorado so when I hear the phrase "wind chill" mentioned I smile as I enjoy walking around in shorts.

To help you feel a little bit better about your lot in life this Winter, I found this video of the weather in Siberia. Once you watch it, you will realize things are not as bad as they seem; and can then wait patiently for me to prepare the beach photos.

See... now don't you feel better!

The Private Life of Santa

And here we are on Christmas Eve and kids all over the world are excited with anticipation. Which got me wondering exactly what does Santa do just before he takes off on his appointed rounds.

Take a look...

He looks for an ATM because he is almost out of cash buying those last minute presents that the elves didn't have time to make.

He takes a helicopter ride to make certain he knows the route just in case his GPS Rudolph can't recalculate in time.

He checks in with all his elves to make certain they have been working and on schedule.

And, he has a policeman give a ticket to an elf that has gone off the rails walking around with an open container.

Then off to deliver all those presents while he dreams of taking a well deserved break after the holiday by getting in a little fishing.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each and every one!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The End of A Horrible Month

I have settled into December and must admit I now understand how the Queen of England felt when she referred to her "annus horribilis" or horrible year, November was mine!

The Constant Gardner, my father, will turn 90 next year and has had a struggle to remain in the world through this one. During multiple hospitalizations, he was revived three times and at one point we even had to make that dreaded end of life decision to remove life support.

But, the old scamp still had a trick or two up his sleeves and came roaring back. I say roaring because once all the medical devices were removed he began to thrive, was aware and alert,  and began making demands and telling us what he would and would not do. He is now back at home and planning the next harvest!

But, death comes on cat's paws and just as we were celebrating, I had to deal with another loss just as devastating. One of my best friends in Denver (Dwight Carr) went into the hospital complaining of chest pains and died! I have written about him and his wife before, and always regarded them as my "other" Ma and Pa because their love and patience could only be compared to the level of a parent.

I know my level of loss and can only imagine how his wife of 37 years must be adjusting to a loss of this magnitude. I found myself counting the days until November went away because now it was the bringer of bad news and events that were hard but must be endured. I will forever miss my friend, his laugh, his booming voice, and a willingness to help that seemed to know few bounds.

And so, the magical thinking continues because November has passed into memory and I am well settled into December... a month that holds promise. I do apologize for my absence in blogging and hope you will understand. A final word in passing: Take a moment and hold someone you love close!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Southern Women Go To A Show

I have heard about the Southern Women's show for a number of years and this year decided to take the camera and give it a look see. As usual click each photo for a better view.

The thing I love about Americans is that we are a very friendly people on an individual basis. You can walk up to anyone and ask them questions and they are more than happy to help or tell all about something they are interested in. I say that because all of the people in the following photos were more than happy to take time to tell about their exhibit.

There were the expected exhibitors offering weight loss alternatives. I asked questions to test this young woman's knowledge and she was more than gracious and passed the test as well!

I didn't ask questions, but simply watched as this young woman was transformed. It was interesting to say the least to listen to the beauty tips provided.

I also learned a good deal by talking with a number of exhibitors. A longer distance trip is in my future to visit the town of Helen, Georgia. Helen evidently is an alpine village nestled in Northern Georgia. It is a seven hour drive from Jacksonville, so during a long weekend it should provide a chance to really get away and experience a little bit of Europe right here in America.

I will also admit to having a bit of misinformation corrected by a very informative gentleman from the Florida Peanut Producers Association. I thought Georgia produced most of the peanuts we consumed in America. I found out that yes, Georgia is the largest producer but Florida is a very close second. He recommended several recipes using peanuts that were simple and allowed peanuts to add spice in terms of dressing up a meal. So take that Georgia!

Speaking of recipes, Publix (the local grocery chain) had a presence and their attendants worked to out do the peanut guy and were a fun group as well.

And speaking of fun groups, I was surprised by the number of men in attendance. Groups like the Fraternal Order of Police who gave new meaning to "Officer Friendly" in that they provided info and also made our talk more than a lighthearted event.

These guys pointed out to me that a women's show is not just about makeup and weightloss. Women now own their own homes and they were there to show how such a major investment could be protected by adding something as simple as gutters. It seems simple, but in a place like Florida where there is substantial rainfall, gutters can prevent foundation problems. They too were a fun group and a fitting end to a great show!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Night Clouds

It really is funny how you start out to do one thing and stumble upon something else quite by accident. The other night I decided to take Sunny-Girl my little Dauschund for an early evening walk. It gets dark sooner now and as I looked up in the sky, the moon and a beautifully strange formation of clouds presented the heavens in a manner that seemed wide open and magical. That feeling made me go back and get the camera to record this overhead vision. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

The photo above is what I call a "big sky" view in that the expanse of clouds with the moon peeking out made the horizon look huge.

I let sunny-Girl off the leach and she found something to investigate that allowed me to watch in awe as the clouds formed and reformed around the moon. This formation I found amazing because it resembled some of the galaxy or gas formation shots captured by the Hubble telescope.

Don't believe me? I found this shot that I think is a good comparison.

Strange too how this one, a variation of the first, is almost as if we had been transported into space and were now looking down on the earth. At any moment you almost expect to see the earth rotating into view below the clouds.

And, just to add to the mix, a storm is brewing in the Atlantic and day time clouds have formed to compete with the specticule from the night before. Another chance to run get the camera before they drift away...

Monday, October 1, 2012

It Came In Through A Window

I know it is late in the season in a lot of places, but here in Florida it still feels like Summer or should I say a lighter form of Summer because we are down to mid-eighty degree days. A break from the heat filled days means sleeping with the windows open and gentle breezes late into the night. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

Yesterday a butterfly flew in and settled on a chair. She did not seem inclinded to leave and try as I might, I could not help it find a way back out. It was then I figured as long as I had a visitor I might as well take a picture.

Looking at the enlarged picture later in the day I realized what a magnificant thing a butterfly is. Watching them flutter through the foliage you grow to think of their wings as very much like bird's feathers. But, on closer inspection I discovered each wing is composed of very fine tiny hairs.

And then I thought about adding another just to illustrate the point.

I don't know how long my visitor will be able to last because time after time she refuses my help and will not leave. So I guess you could say the "dye" is cast, but now you have a view of my visitor too!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Small Town Festival

I always welcome a chance to venture out into small towns near the area because it encourages the feeling of going back in time and simple pleasures. The announcement on the local news of a Catfish Festival in the little town of Kingsland, Georgia offered this type of opportunity. It was just under an hour's drive, involved interstate travel, and a festival always offers plenty of people watching to catch on camera. I enjoy these small Southern  towns because they bring back memories of the mountain towns back in Colorado. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

Despite the heat,  there were plenty of people attending the festival. Kingland's proximity to Kings Bay Naval Station probably added to the mix of families primed for an outing of food and fun.

Kingland is definitely a small town as you can see from this photo of the main street. Time moves slowly in places like this, and I can understand how at times in our fast paced world that can have its advantages.

And, you can imagine the excitement in the town because the festival probably brings in more people than the entire population. So for one day each year the Catfish fly and the town balloons with people.

There was all kinds of family friendly entertainment such as pony rides that offered the chance to not only ride a pony but also pet some very gentle dogs that would ride along with you. This little girl took the plung, and who could blame her. A pony and a puppy is always a winning combination.

For the more adventurous there was the rock climbing wall which really required some bravery because the column was pretty high. This young man was not deterred as he made his way to the top!

And for the smaller set, there was the barrel train powered by a riding lawn mower that provided a ride around the grounds.

I brought my bicycle and after a meal of very tasty catfish, rode around the town.  I learned from one of the locals that Kingsland is known as "Love Town" because it is possible for a lot of people, especially coming from Florida, to get a marriage license and ceremony all in the same day. Sort of like the small Las Vegas of the South. He also mentioned that Oprah was scheduled to feature the town as a reality show later in the year. Who knew!!

And, a final shot before packing up my bike for the trip back home. I came upon this little shop and there was something about the sign for "new and used items" and the folige that seemed to be eating the building alive that caught my eye. A fitting end for the day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hip Hop At the Landing

The Labor Day weekend cut into my time to edit my video from the Hip Hop contest, but there will new adventures in Georgia to put up on the gallery later this week.

I was determined to finish the video and worked late into the night to add the finishing touches. I say that because I recognize that my video editing skills have definitely improved both in terms of transitions and creation of background music; but also because it was a hot day and the contest participants worked really hard to showcase their skills which deserved support. My only regret is that I had over an hour of video that had to be reduced to a little over five minutes, which meant not everyone could be included. And so, without further delay: I give you Hip  Hop At the Landing!

Friday, August 31, 2012

You Meet the Nicest People...

I had not taken the camera out in awhile, and last weekend heard about a break dancing contest that was taking place at the Jacksonville Landing. The first thought that came to mind was video footage for the gallery that would allow me to work on my video editing technique, and off I went! As usual, click each photo for a better view.

I found a good spot and sat down ready to let the action unfold and then I realized I had forgotten to charge either one of the two batteries for the camera just before some of the performers began practicing.  What to do, what to do? And then I got the idea to go to one of the near by restaurants and offer to pay if they would allow me to plug in my charger.

I love Italian food and just as I looked up there was the Italian restaurant Vito's. I went in and spoke with the manager who brushed away my request to pay and allowed me to plug  in my charger no questions asked. He may have thought of it as a small gesture but it spoke volumes for me because I was not a paying customer but someone who had walked in off the street.

I returned to my spot, that another spectator had kindly held for me, and began filming. The guys performing were more than entertaining as one after another they performed stunt after stunt attempting to out perform each other. A few times I smiled to myself because I knew my back-up battery was charging and would allow me to film to my hearts desire.

Once I had enough footage I realized that it was a hot Florida day and filming is hard work. What better treat than to walk one last time over to Vito's and have a meal while I cooled off. In line with how the day had been going, I was served by the nicest waitress you could ever imagine. 

Her name was Josie and despite a shy smile she made certain the  delicious plate of mussels was a delight. What went through my mind as I gobbled down the mussels was that despite feeling at times that our society has gotten rude and hardened, that there are still kind people in the world. Over and over during my adventure people had gone out of their way to offer assistance without any thought of reward, except that what they did was a nice thing to do. 

As I  work on editing the video footage from the contest I  periodically smile to myself in thanks to all the people who in their own way helped me complete the project. Yes, you meet the nicest people...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mars Is Calling !

I had photos from my latest adventure and then saw one of the following pictures on the news and could not resist going to the NASA website to show you a few more. These are all photos taken by the latest generation of Mars Rover and they are clear beyond belief. I was more than happy to adhere to their requirement and say that these photos have been provided Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. As usual click each photo for a better view. 

Before we get into a look at the surface some history is in order. Here is a picture of three generations of Rovers. While you almost expect to see R2-D2 they are not far from fiction becoming reality and look quite close to what we have seen in the movies.

Next, comes a view of the current Rover. The photo almost looks like a fractal as you view the various panels. I guess a lot of that has to do with the way they have pieced together various pictures to provide a complete image. 

And now, lets go for a trip on the surface. Here is a low light image. You can see parts of the Rover that took the image.

Talking about R2-D2, my favorite is this one that once again has been stitched together to create one image. You can clearly make out the tracks of the Rover in the background as it drove to get to this spot. Salvador Dali would have loved this view!

I'm sure we will be seeing more pictures as I am certain NASA scientists are having great fun shifting through the data. There were also loads of multimedia examples of Rover's work, so if you have a moment, jump over to the Mars Exploration Rover Mission from the highlighted link and be even more amazed because Mars is now calling!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Ark Has Finally Landed!

The last week has been challenging to say the least. We all expected Tropical Storm Debby, which usually means a few days of rain and wind. What no one expected was days and days of unending, monsoon like rain. I've included some photos to show why it felt like we were on the ark waiting to finally hit land.

A road near my house that I travel a lot. A sinkhole developed, became overloaded, and gave way. I find it amazing because just the day before I was driving down this street.

Another intersection I use a good deal looks almost unreal. It has the strange look that cars have  been driven into a  lake.  You would never know this is an entrance to the interstate highway.

You have to feel for the person in this car (this almost happened to me but I was helped by people in the street who showed me the high point of the street). It was scary to say the least.


But in every bad situation there is always someone able to make lemonade out of lemons. This young man looks like he is having the time of his life floating down the middle of his street.

And so the ark has finally landed as the water slowly begins to draw down. Now comes the mosquitoes breeding in all that water!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Really Surreal?

I stumbled upon a book on the history of photography and have found myself deeply engrossed and fascinated by it. I particularly like the surrealists which strikes me as odd. I say odd because I am generally a purist regarding the pictures I take and refuse to do anything to them other than cropping (Photoshop is the antichrist!). But something about what I was seeing struck a chord and I realized I could manipulate my photos  to provide a whole new meaning to the term "mind's eye". As usual, click each photo for a better view. 

What really surprised me about this whole affair is that I could let my mind run wild and see orchids as butterflies.

flowers as balls,

a wet leaf as a road traveled by rain drops,

a pier as a twisted road,

and parts of a bamboo shade as whirls.

This little experiment has opened a whole new world for me. And, while I'm not ready to run out and buy Photoshop I will admit to being willing to see the world in a different way.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Flying With A Crane

I saw this video and had to share it. As someone who is afraid of heights and continually has to work to overcome it, the thought of being able to take a camera into a crane operating 1,100 feet in the air is both exciting and overwhelming.

I love encountering new situations where I can use my camera to get a bird's eye view of anything. But, how would you feel if you had to do that everyday?

Take a look...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Forever Gone... But Not Forgotten

Memorial Day is generally seen as the start of the Summer traveling season in America, and sadly many forget the other reason for the holiday. Thinking about the upcoming event, I remembered that a National Cemetery had opened here in Jacksonville and decided to visit.  As usual, click each photo for a better view. 

The area is out in the country, which despite the distance makes sense because it enabled the cemetery to buy a good expanse of land that allows room to grow as veterans from various conflicts age and ultimately require a space. There is something solemn that strikes you as you encounter the entrance. 

I worked to get this shot because in its own way it reminded me of Arlington National Cemetery  which has a much longer history and a special place in the hearts of most Americans as the resting place of America's war dead. Strange, but I felt a sense of pride that Jacksonville could now be counted as part of that national history. 

I could not help but think that Marine James Davis has a great view of the grounds throughout eternity. Rest easy my friend.

There are restrictions for flowers and displays on a grave, that I at first thought were harsh but on reflection realized simple tributes are much more poignant. This lone flower almost shouts "I remember" and is why I like this shot. 

Lest we forget, there is a human cost to war, and someone dear has been lost. This visitor captured for me the remembering that needs to take place from time to time. That we honor the dead and announce that they are forever gone... but not forgotten.