connections, egrets, finding my way, Florida wildlife, friends, nature, Osprey, perseverance, photography, simple things, strangers

New friends…

Part of the charm of heading over to the rookery is that there is a Twisty Treat ice cream stand right there!  So you can tell yourself that you are going to take pictures, but in the back of your mind you are thinking ice cream.  Yesterday I had my priorities straight, I got the ice cream first!  Okay, you do have to drive across the parking lot and tuck your car in behind the buildings to unload, but I then found myself marching towards the fence with another gal, a like-minded gal, because we were both lugging a three step ladder and cameras with nice long lenses.  It must have looked like we planned it.  So I made a new friend yesterday, and had a very nice time as we took pictures of the chicks, and talked about photography in general.  I told her about our camera club, FCCP, Florida Center for Creative Photography, and I told her that there are a lot of people my age in the group, but younger people also.  Mentioned because she is young, the years that I wonder where they went are still waiting to unfold for her.  But she said she likes people my age, and at that moment we were kindred spirits.  The big difference was that when the osprey we had been watching hover in the air over the rookery finally made his dive and came up with a fish, her camera battery didn’t die like mine did.  The most dramatic moment of a nice afternoon and I missed it.  But really I didn’t miss anything, I made a new friend…4-15-19twochicks4-15-19thisbig4-15-19ospreyegretfight34-15-19ospreyegretfight24-15-19ospreyegretfight4-15-19incoming

a second look, finding my way, healing, history, memories, moments, perseverance, photography, unintended consequences

Hokey Pokey…

“You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out”…  The song came to mind this morning as I sat in the dark and quiet with my coffee.  At about a month since I actually moved myself into my new place, as opposed to just moving my stuff into my new place, I think I’ve got it settled.  Maybe.  But all this arranging and rearranging in here started because of how dark it was out in the Florida room.  And the fact that I realized that the windows would take tension rods so I wasn’t going to have to actually install anything.  That’s what got me started.  I made a cat quilt wall hanging for my mother years ago, and it found a home hanging over the ugly, metal trimmed window out there,  It looked cute, I thought.  But the unintended consequence was that it made the kitchen work space darker.  So take it down or figure out how to ‘dress’ that kitchen window? 04-08-19catquilt04-08-19HLshelvesI wasn’t sure I’d stick with this peg board until I came across two of my all time favorite pictures, one of Charley with a 4 pound lobster he ordered in Provincetown years ago, and the one of me making a very rude, and might I add out-of-character, gesture.  I believe they both were taken on the same trip home years ago.  I didn’t realize that I had copies of those pictures, and the bird photo holder that’s never held a photo must have been waiting for this moment.  We look so young.  So it’s still a little dark in that kitchen corner, but for now I’ll just turn the light on and enjoy the memory.  Charley in the kitchen is so appropriate, he was a great cook.  The puzzle pieces are still falling into place.  It may not be time to do the Hokey Pokey and turn myself around quite yet, but it’s getting there…04-08-19Docandme

finding my way, healing, home, life goes on, memories, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, solitude

My first place…

The first thing Charley and I bought together was a ridiculously expensive stained glass window.  It was in an antique shop in Old Ellicott City, MD, and the blue pieces of glass were/are original to the window. Maybe the rest of the pieces were missing or broken.  But at any we loved it, and it signaled that we were going forward together. That was close to 40 years ago now, and it’s moved with us since then, so it has hung in various spots over the years.  But mostly it was in the upstairs window of the den of the house we lived in for over 30 years.  Many more years in that one house than I lived in my hometown, which was a stunning realization when it hit me.  Yet I left that house behind without looking back, but I’ve never been able to leave my hometown behind.  I’ve lived a lot of places in my life, but none of them have been ‘home’ to me, despite my penchant for fixing them up.  I had considered selling it, the stained glass window I mean, but I knew that I’d never get the crazy price we paid for it.  And during the time it hung in that upstairs window, the one with a window seat below it, our cat, Hobo, used to reach up and dig his claws into the window frame for a nice stretch.  And so they remain there, his claw marks forever part of our history.  So I fix up my place and make it all cozy for myself.  This is the equivalent of my first apartment, the first place I’ve ever made for myself alone.  In a place I never expected to be.  You don’t usually furnish your first place with a lifetime’s worth of treasures.  Treasures that hold memories, and bring them to life when you look at them.  My ‘first’ place may be my last place, and it may just be home…

'scene' along the way, connections, coping, death, finding my way, grief, healing, life goes on, marriage, memories, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Questions without answers…

I honestly don’t know what Charley would have thought of my current camera obsession.  That I’m alone now is probably an advantage since I can hop out of my chair and into the car for sunrise photos at the spur of the moment.  He wouldn’t go anywhere until he was showered and dressed, and he always smelled heavenly.  Skunk-piss he called it, and I still have some and take a whiff now and again.  When the time has gotten away from me I’ve been known throw on the clothes from the day before and head out, and I don’t know that I even comb my hair when that happens.  It’s a factor of leaving the house in the dark when no one can see you, and then it’s light out and you head for home and want to hide.  With a little more preparation I’ve been known to stop at Panera for an accessory cup of coffee and a treat.  Yesterday after this shoot I got a cinnamon crunch bagel, which I had forgotten even existed.  I didn’t need the reminder.

So, it’s a toss up really.  Charley might have been annoyed with me over my endless photo shoots, or he quite possibly would have bought himself a better camera than mine and it might have been a competition.  It could have been fun, but I guess I’ll never know…03-24-19sunrise103-24-19sunrise203-24-19sunrise303-24-19sunrise403-24-19sunrise503-24-19sunrisefeature

a second look, childhood, finding my way, growing old, life, life goes on, memories, perseverance, photography, progress, simple things

The finish line…

I prefer to think that my obsession with downsizing, purging, and getting rid of all the ‘stuff’ in my life that was weighing me down, originated with me.  Or, more correctly, with Charley.  That I started feeling as if I needed to liberate myself from my ‘stuff’ came long before the tiny house movement.  Even though we had sold the house we lived in for 35 years and had to pare things down to make that move, Charley still had tons of stuff he left behind when he died.  And even though I remembered how he surprised me back then by going through his things and tossing/giving away all sorts of things without any agonizing whatsoever, I did agonize over his things.  All his things were treasures, they were worth something, collectibles, as he was fond of reminding me.  I could be tossing away something of value.  My own stuff was junk, admittedly, so it was the physical act of going through boxes that had been sitting on shelves in the garage for years that would get the best of me.  I would tell myself that I ought to just throw those boxes away, don’t even open them I’d think, but I couldn’t seem to do that, and I’d keep on procrastinating.  But now I have finally done it, I’m pretty much at the finish line, spurred on because I wanted to save my kids the torture of going through all my stuff and sorting and tossing it away.  They’ll probably have to do some of that one day but they can rest assured that it is, in fact, junk, so toss away!

So what has made the cut?  What have I managed to keep with me through moves from MA, to IN, to CA, to MD, and, finally, to this little place in FL?  Besides the sewing machines, cameras, computers, and iPhones we have these gems.  Treasures from my childhood, and items that caught my eye over the years.  As I acquired them, the little stained glass candle holder bought in Beanblossom, Indiana for example, could I have ever imagined that it would stay with me, across country in both directions, and be with me here in what I expect is my last home?  Which in reality is my first ever apartment, so to speak.  The first place I’ve ever made for myself alone.  But furnished with the items that I have held close to my heart, that have pleased me, comforted me, delighted me, and carried me from childhood to, ahem, maturity…

finding my way, friends, fun, life goes on, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, technology, unintended images

Ghostly images…

Several years ago a neighbor happened to make a Facebook post about a photography class, Photographing Birds, that was being offered at a wildlife preserve nearby.  I was off that day, and the class started at 10 AM so I had plenty of time to get there, so in that way the timing was good, but the timing was also good for me personally.  After three years of being a bit of a hermit after Charley died I guess I had realized that life was going to go on after all, and as a long-term strategy being a hermit probably wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had.  I believe that it was just the four of us at that class, plus the teacher, and we have stuck together ever since.  Is it photography that stuck us together?  Because we could not be coming to this hobby/obsession from more different personal angles, but yet here we are.  So while I was away my friends had discovered a photography group that is based a lot closer than our St. Pete group, which we still love and participate in, but easy access is easy access.  So I tagged along to a class last night and enjoyed it a lot.  The leader, Carolyn, is a forensic photographer, so as she was explaining the settings on the camera, etc., the frame of reference she would use as examples might be to include everything you were seeing in the scene you were photographing, such as the body, the murder weapon, the blood spatter, etc. and the settings you need to accomplish that.  A very different point of view to say the least.

I don’t think that this particular technique was related to her work per se, just a fun exercise in what your camera can do.  To use a gauzy flowing drape is an obvious choice of prop for these pictures, and those were the pictures I was liking as I looked at the images in the camera.  Then I got home and was tired, and I didn’t like the images at all.  But this morning, with a cup of coffee, I liked them more.  And really liked the images without the flowing robe also.  03-12-ghostlybetty03-12-ghostlycarolyn03-12-ghostlycarolyn2  Now to think of a way to use the technique.  Someone suggested shooting in a graveyard and having a ghost rising out of a grave.  Now that has potential…