I narrowed my choices for the day into cleaning out the inside of the car, or go to the zoo. I told myself that going to the zoo was my ‘saintlier’ choice since I’d be taking advantage of my pay-for-a day and visit for a year pass. It’s only a deal if you use it.
Another day gotten through. There is no goal in mind exactly, just to get through this whole, strange, time we find ourselves in. I’ve been wondering if we’ll know when it’s over, or will it just fade into a new way of living…
Yesterday an old friend asked about One-Foot Fred, who seems like another old friend after all this time, so off I went to Aripeka to see if I might be able to report on how Fred is doing. The last I had heard people hadn’t seen him in a while, and I had even heard that a two-footed great blue had been around so I was afraid Fred had left the area. And a nice sunrise, that would have been nice too.
I asked this young fisherman if he’d seen Fred but he was new to the area and didn’t know Fred’s story. He caught a flounder while we were talking, which he says is unusual for the area. Happily for the flounder he lived to tell the tale.
With photography as my favorite thing to do there are a lot of ways for me to spend money on my hobby. I tend to think that I take pictures for ‘free’ since I well remember the days of having your film developed for lots of $$$ and discovering that only a very few of your pictures actually turned out the way you wanted them to. And I have already upgraded my camera and bought several lenses beyond what I started with. And tripods, I’ve bought a few of those. New lenses need bigger and better bags to hold them, and I’m thinking that I ought to buy a wagon of sorts to carry this stuff with me so I can actually use it when I’m shooting. But the reality is that there is only one way to improve my photography and that’s by working on my technique and learning all that I can about how to do better. So I resist buying more stuff, usually. But the Lens Ball has been calling me for a while now. Something different to play with. So I gave in. I took it out at sunset last night, which meant I didn’t have to deal with it getting too hot to hold, a pitfall I’ve heard a lot about, and totally freaked out over the fear of dropping it. It’s heavier than I expected too. So I have only two pictures from last night, but it’s a little something different. Something to help me get through these days, one at a time…
Here’s one taken by the iPhone, and I flipped the image over. The image is upside-down in the lens as you view it to take a picture. Straiss your brain a little to work with it…
Kites on the beach, what could go wrong? Well, as you see in the feature photo, a huge expanse of beach, tiny little kites in the sky, (K heard there were huge kites the day before), and even a plane crash…
Sping Bayou is a small park with a lovely lake in a older, upscale neighborhood in Tarpon Springs. I imagine it’s a rather quiet place on any other day than yesterday, because it was the Greek Orthodox celebration called the Epiphany, and it’s cause for quite a celebration in this proud Greek town. In fact this was the 115th celebration, and in this year of COVID it was a drastically scaled down event. It was reported that only half of the 800 parishioner passes to view the event had been handed out, so as my first time to view it gave me a better view than normal since my son had passes for us to attend. We didn’t attend the four hour mass to start the day, and the procession from the church to the park happened more quickly than usual, so we found ourselves in the midst of what is the main event of the day earlier than most of us expected. Each year a cross is blessed and thrown into the water, and this year there were 55 16-18 year old boys of the parish who dove into the water to try to retrieve the cross and bring honor to their families.
As you see in the feature photo, we arrived to see the arches where the divers would pass under to take their places on the dock. They would first jump into the water and swim to the waiting boats, and from there they would dive in and try to retrieve the cross as it was tossed. As you see below, safety was a big concern with a rescue boat and divers in full scuba gear in the water to keep the boys safe.
The police presence was felt, but they were mostly giving directions, and as you see there were mounted police of every description there to help.
Soon we saw the boys in their white tee shirts walking under the golden cross to take their places.
The priest blessed the cross, blessed the water, and asked God to protect us all during this time of COVID.
And then came the moment for the boys to jump into the water and swim to the boats to be ready to try to be the lucky one to retrieve the cross.
As they all kept jumping in I understood the need for the drivers to be there, but they safely made it into the boats and soon it was time. I concentrated on the priest to try to catch the moment when he threw the cross, but I was a second too soon. My son had told me that there would be a release of a dove, which I also managed to miss.
Here they all are, swimming for the cross, and the moment that I first saw that someone had come up with it. It only took a few seconds.
Now wrapped in towels the boys hoisted the winner onto their shoulders and paraded him back to the church while the last of the boys were still climbing the ladder out of the water. This year there were no concessionaires there to tempt us with their great Greek food. Not so much of a festival atmosphere. But the tradition was respected, and if the prayers are answered the celebration will continue en force next year.
I’ve had a little harder time deciding what I wanted to write about this last stop on our Birmingham trip. I had come to Birmingham on a whim after all, and knew nothing of it’s history., so it came as a surprise to me to realize that such an industrial city existed in the south. And with my usual rosy glasses outlook I thought about all the jobs and opportunity it mist have been for anyone willing to work. I took these photos at the Vulcan museum. They came from a display with pictures of groups of workers with these four highlighted. It tells the story pretty well.
The sheer size of the Sloss Furnaces was amazing. You could wander the grounds with machinery towering over you, and you could walk into tunnels under the ground. It was impossible to try to imagine what that place was like on any given day when it was running full steam, the noise of the machinery, the smell of the molten steel, and the heat. Did the machinery cause the very ground to vibrate? Hard and dirty jobs, day after day, and still they worked…