Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

February 25, 2013

FRESH PRODUCE


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... coming back from parking my car down by the river, i cut through barrels community market ... sometimes i go to the market to buy a loaf of bread or a bag of yummy oatmeal cookies, but today it was just to stop and look at the produce ...

February 24, 2013

ARCTIC GOONEY BIRD


WITTNAUER FESTIVAL-STEINER 45MM-EKTACHROME AERIAL ISO50
... it was always most exciting when pa would take me with him onto the flightline at elmendorf air force base ... we'd stop at the security station where he'd show his badge and exchange words with the guard on duty ... (of course, such conversation usually included the exchange of "wheelin' and dealin'" items) ... pa would then clamp a checkered safety flag on the roof rack and say to me, "duck down until we're out away from the maintenance hangers" ... what a joy it was to see up close the machines of my dreams ... noisy b-47s, low-slung b-57s, "connies," c-97s and kc-97s, arrow-like f-102 "delta daggers," and, sometimes, a glimpse of a super-secret early version of the rc-135 spy plane ... here, warming up its pratt and whitney radials, is one of my favorites, a c-47 "skytrain" ... over 10,000 of these planes were manufactured ... it is remarkable that although the last c-47 left the factory at the end of world war II in 1945, to this day there are still a great many of these airplanes around the world flying regular passenger and cargo routes ...

SISTER SUE SUFFERIN'


UNKNOWN CAMERA-UNKNOWN FILM
... pa took this picture while we were living in alaska, probably in 1959 or 1960 ... today, while watching both the snowstorm and the daytona 500, i was doing some slide-scanning experimenting ... i've been removing some of the more severely damaged/faded slides from their mounts and cleaning the them with reagent grade methanol ... encased in one of pa's hand-pressed cardboard mounts, at first this image appeared to be another of his improperly fixed aerial ektachrome transparencies ... it was a surprise when i discovered it to be a square of unperforated film, hand cut to fit the mount ... the thinness of the emulsion leads me to believe that it was originally roll film, perhaps 127 size ... to give you an idea of what i had to work with, here's an unprocessed scan of the original ...


UNKNOWN CAMERA-UNKNOWN FILM
... for the final version i used only filters such as color correction, contrast, scratch/dust removal, etc., and did not do any hand spotting or corrections ...

... sue's arm is broken ... my bet would be that this picture was taken soon after the accident, since my recollection is that eventually she did not allow the cast to slow her down (except, that is, when it came to getting out of her chores) ...

A LITTLE BROWNIE


WITTNAUER FESTIVAL-STEINER 45MM-EKTACHROME AERIAL ISO50
... my sister, sue, in nunaka valley, alaska ... 1960 or 1961 ... she was such a tiny little girl, yet i remember how in any of our routine staring contests each of us thought ourselves lucky if we could last even a minute against her ...


AT ATTENTION


WITTNAUER FESTIVAL-STEINER 45MM-EKTACHROME AERIAL ASA 50
... i sometimes think that at a very early point in his life my brother figured out that women "go for a man in uniform" ... mike, following in pa's footsteps, was a scout's scout, and as his little brother i always greatly admired the skill and pride with which he carried on the tradition ...

February 13, 2013

SUE IN THE BIG SKY

WITTNAUER FESTIVAL-STEINER 45MM-KODACHROME-ISO 25
... in the spring of 1958 we left the tropical warmth of palm beach and drove to rhode island where we visited with the groleau clan long enough that i was enrolled in the grammar school to finish up the first-grade ... i remember the ancient wooden desks, and that my teacher was so tenured she could talk about when my dad had been her student ... pre-interstate highway system, we then drove state and u.s. routes cross-country all the way to seattle, washington, where we boarded a ship to sail north to the united states territory of alaska ...

... here, sue, as was usual, is making sure my brother and i both knew it was completely useless for either of us to even think of entering the charm contest ... the shoes are store-bought, ma always made sure we had the very best, but sue's attire was completely a creation of my mother's talents with needle and thread ... over fifty years since this picture was taken, yet still that outfit is nothing but totally cool ...

PA FISHIN'

WITTNAUER FESTIVAL-STEINER 45MM-EKTACHROME-ISO 80
... of my earliest memories of pa are of him fishing ... those first recollections are of stops we would make while driving the "hurricane road," the overseas highway connecting the florida mainland to key west ... he'd pull the car off onto a maintenance road on one of the many tiny keys that were connected by the zig-zag path of the 127-miles long bridge ... from there we'd walk back along the edge of the roadway ... i was always frightened, being as back then the right of way was much narrower and the guardrails weren't high enough to prevent a stumbling six-year old from taking a long dive into the sea monster infested aquamarine waters below ... we'd find a spot above a deep channel beneath the structure, and there we would spend an hour or so, me as called for handing him bait, leader lines, hooks, etc., and he existing in a special kind of heaven to which i believe only true fishers ever ascend ... we were usually late getting home, and i always enjoyed the little game he and ma would play out, one in which she never directly asked and he never told an actual lie ...

... in the picture above pa is fishing at king salmon, alaska, probably sometime in 1959 ... funny, now, how then i'd watch him, hoping with all my being that some day i, too, would have real man arms like his ... and ... and there's the memory of asking him, "how come you never get upset when you don't catch anything" ...

... "i'll figure today was the fish's turn, and besides, it just means i'll have to go fishin' again" ...


February 10, 2013

SUED FOR BEING GRAY

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@135mm-F11-1/125th-3 FLASH-ISO100
... here's a little gem that will most likely seem a bit perplexing to photographers under the age of thirty ... this is a twin-lens reflex yashica-44 ... unlike its well-known and more complex brother, the single-lens-reflex, or "slr," a camera of this type uses one lens for viewing and another for the actual taking of the picture ... "but what's the advantage in that" ... with no moving mirror, the camera is both simpler and much more rugged ... also, because there is no mirror flipping out of the light path during exposure the photographer never suffers a momentary black-out of the viewfinder ... surprisingly, since the upper glass doesn't have to be color and aberration corrected, and the focus mount is built into the front of the camera rather than the lens barrel,  tlr lenses are not more costly than slr optics ...

... the yashica-44 used 127 roll film which resulted in huge square-format color slides that fit into a standard 35mm projector ... alas, such film is no longer produced, so unless a photographer is willing cut-down 120 film to fit 127 spools this type of camera is now good only as a curiosity ...

... so, here's my question:  why was yashica forced to stop making this camera in grey, as well as cease marketing it as the "yashica baby gray" ... first correct answer gets a prize ...




AERO COMMANDER

WITTNAUER FESTIVAL-STEINER 45MM-EKTACHROME-ISO 80
... as much as pa used to take us places, he would also find reasons to take just me with him on an outing ... sometimes it would be late in the night, when he'd been called in to the crypto vault to decode or encode some highly classified military communication ... other times, often in darkness, too, it would be to meet another of his kind for some sort of scrounging/bartering transaction ... i avoid the word "thievery," if only because i always accepted his explanation, "well, if they cared all that much they wouldn't have left it lying around" ... but in many cases i would go along to "keep him company," eventually to learn that we were going someplace that was just for me ... crawling around inside the gargantuan fuselage of an air force c-124 globemaster transport plane, the office of the president of the union pacific railroad (where in my very own hands i held one of the "golden spikes"), or, as you can see here, the inspection of an airplane of which he'd heard me express admiration ... when it was the latter there always seemed to be someone around to say, "why, you're in luck, frenchy, i just happened to have the keys with me" ...

ADRIEN'S OLYMPUS E-P3
... in 1944 ted smith and a group of douglas aircraft engineers formed a company to develop a transport plane similar in layout to the a-20 bomber ... their commander family of aircraft was manufactured from 1948 until 1986 ... it was famous for its single-engine performance and overall utility, but i liked it simply because it looked good ... last spring, while we were visiting the united states air force museum in dayton, adrien snapped this picture of me standing in front of president dwight eisenhower's personal transport ... it was the first presidential transport to sport the blue and white paint scheme, and, when the president was aboard, it was the smallest aircraft to use the "air force one" call sign ...



February 9, 2013

ANOTHER DAY, A DIFFERENT STORM

WITTNAUER FESTIVAL-STEINER 45MM-EKTACHROME-ISO 80*
... nunaka valley, alaska, winter of 1960, i believe ... when i say winter, of course, i mean this could have been anytime between september and may ... contrary to common belief, however, we didn't get all that much snow accumulation in anchorage, being that it was so far south and along the ocean ... the cold, however, that was a different story ... if this was taken in mid-winter, which the engine block machine hole heating element would indicate, then the temperature could have been as low as -40°f ... i remember how ma had a serious melt-down when in just such conditions pa was preparing to take his boy scouts, of which mike was one, on their "winter survival" camping trip ... she expressed to him many distinctive opinions, of which "g** d***** crazy" was of the milder variants ... i was secretly proud when i heard my brother whisper, "doesn't she get it, we're scouts" ...

SPECIAL NOTE
... i've just posted a complete revision of my web site, as well as altered slightly the layout of this journal ... "links" are now located in the upper right of the window, where they're easier to see ... the website itself has many changes, and, i hope, is now a bit easier to navigate ... major alterations have been made to the "46350" section, and i've begun the process of posting many of my photographs to albums which will work on both computers and flash deprived iPads ... i'd be happy if you'd take a bit of time to explore the site, and would greatly appreciate feedback of any kind ... thanks ...


February 2, 2013

BIRTHDAY ON THE ICE


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... i drove out to east pond to wish the best of birthdays to my great friend, chuck ... for those of you not in the know, he and i taught together for twenty-eight years, much of that time across a hall from one another ... we were, to put it in very precise educational terms, the very best of teams ... we cared about kids, our core philosophies were in perfect synch, and, most important, we both believed that applied by a practiced master a little bit of good ol' b***s*** could go a long way towards making a bad day better or transforming otherwise dry subject matter into exciting fun ... neither of us ever thought that there could be too much laughter in a classroom ...

... chuck and ann live in the little house to the left in the picture, their front yard is east pond ... chuck is standing above one of our favorite spots, a tree trunk that lies on the muddy bottom of the pond ... often on a summer or fall evening we will swim out and stand atop the tree, which offers enough of a perch that we can relax with only our heads out of the water ... we'll solve a few of the world's problems, comment on the amount of algae in the water, rag about a certain state governor who we both believe never got past the title of the book "being a state governor for dummies" ... after a few minutes, however, we always come to talking about our girls, our lives, how both of us have been so very lucky for all that we have seen and done ... i think that this is the reason the tree ended up in this spot ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... the ice is thick enough that a car could be driven across the lake, although a lack of snow and the recent rains followed by well-below freezing temperatures have made the surface so slippery that i imagine it would be a rather interesting experience ... it is frightening fun to hear the groans and great snapping cracking sounds as the surface of the lake adjusts itself to the wind and movement of the water below ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... here huge fissures, possibly a result of the recent four days of unseasonably warm weather, have become resealed with clear ice ... a long time ago, when i was a child living in alaska, i fell through the ice on a pond while i was skating ... i still remember the cold, how it almost stopped my heart, and how absolutely afraid i was until my brother, he who remembered everything in the boy scout handbook, carefully worked his way on his belly to the edge of where i'd broken through the ice ... "just relax ... don't move around ... hold my hand ... there you go, i'm not going to let you sink" ... i knew he wouldn't, not ever, so, although i admit to worrying a bit that i was going to turn into a popsicle, i had no fear in me as we waited for some grown-ups to come help him pull me from the icy water ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... although the truth of the matter is that in these times the residents of this state are defined as being those who can work the buttons of their smart phones while wearing mittens, i still believe that this picture portrays the characteristics of a "true mainer" ... ayuh, yessir, by gorry ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... "hmmmm, so ... so, if i was to put some studs into my motorcycle tires ... wear my heavy boots ... i wonder if it would work" ... don't let my calm demeanor fool you, as chuck was taking this picture the wind chill was probably about 0°F ...







SUE & PA


PETRI FLEX V-KURIBAYASHI 55mm-F8-1/125th-ISO50 AGFACHROME

... beth, my sister-in-law, posted on facebook an old picture of my sister sue and i was reminded of this agfachrome slide i had tucked away waiting to be scanned ...

... sue and pa, playing around in the front yard of 1212a mango drive, our house on guam ... the little dog eating his fleas is named "dusty," i believe (probably a stray, my sister to homeless and wounded critters has always been like a magnet to iron filings) ... the yard is trimmed, per military base regulations ... the shrubs are a bit ragged, which leads me to believe that this picture was taken in the rainy season during which it was almost impossible to keep the growth trimmed back ... i'd guess that this is october or november of 1967 ...

... of course, what you can't see in this photograph are the thousands of giant african land snails which lived in holes in the lawn and under the bushes—during the wet season it was a daily chore to knock them from beneath the roof eaves—and the giant toads which had been introduced on the island to get rid of the snails, but were never really up to the task ...

... alison said to me, "how come you didn't get your dad's great smile" ... i've always wondered about that ... for sure, as we were all to so very sadly discover, he also hid his great sadness, and it could be there were times his magnificent grin was a tool he used more to encourage our happiness than express his own ... mostly, however, i think he was a man who as an adult retained the ability to allow his emotions to explode out ... one thing we never questioned was pa's mood ... now that i reflect upon it, however, that was perhaps not always such a good thing since it often allowed us to make assumptions which served our own very selfish needs ... 

... still, after all these years, i do so miss his great smile ...