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 fifth 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.

January 30, 2016

WINTER FLOWERS

 ... beth's orchards, of the orchidaceae family which contains four times as many species as there are different mammals ... almost 10% of the species of seed plants on earth are orchids ...

... i always think that in evolving orchids nature was anticipating photoshop ... as different as are these two pictures, if you asked me, "which is the most real depiction," i'd have to respond, "both of them" ... 

... with banks of snow still flanking the sidewalk, and these beautiful little flowers being ice free only because the front of the house reflects much of the sun's warmth to the earth below, these "snow drops," galanthus ("milk flowers," from the greek), can bloom in 30-34°f frost conditions because they contain natural antifreeze ... to me they are a most wonderful reminder that winter is but one of four seasons ...

... packing for tomorrow's drive back to maine, the rhode island evening sky promised me a tranquil journey ... of course, having lived in new england for over forty years i'm still keeping my fingers crossed ...

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, 
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; 
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds - 
and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - 
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence. 
Hovering there I've chased the shouting wind along 
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.

"Up, up the long delirious burning blue 
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, 
where never lark, or even eagle, flew; 
and, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod 
the high untrespassed sanctity of space, 
put out my hand and touched the face of God."

JOHN GILLESPIE MAGEE, JR.

January 28, 2016

R.I. MOMENTS

... greenwich main street, a moment in which to pause ...

... when there's nothing to take a picture of—well, that should never happen ...

... my brother ... he got one of those gilbert chemistry sets for christmas and decided i was to be the subject of his mad science ... "how did you get those purple marks on your ears," ma asked ... "um ... well, i think some of the radiation from the alien's flying saucer must've leaked through the garbage can lid i was hiding behind" ... i was never going to rat out my brother, if for no other reason than when i couldn't protect myself i could count on him to step in to do the job ... and, honestly, what good's a mom if you can't screw with her mind a bit every once and awhile ... 

... fully aware of the impossiblility of ever doing so, pa i would never think of messing with ... "stay away from your brother when he gets that mad scientist look in his eyes—and, next time, wrap the garbage can lid with tin foil" ...

January 23, 2016

STAR PARTY

 ... knowing that the sensible thing to do after working at the bookstore was in the early evening make my drive to rhode island, instead i decided to take john up on his offer to attend the star party at colby college's collins observatory ... we arrived to find both great appreciation and celebration of the heavens above ...

... local astronomers set up their telescopes and invited visitors to view the intriguing objects upon which they had focused the lenses ...

... to me, equally fascinating as the distant stars and nebula being viewed in the devices were the looks of awe upon the faces of the little children as they left the earth and ascended into an infinitely fascinating universe ...

... the "highpoint" of the evening was when one of the colby astronomers notified the crowd, "in five minutes the iridium communications satellite will be unfolding it's solar panel" ... at the appropriate time he counted down "5—4—3—2—1" and on cue a brilliant light appeared in sky ... for perhaps ten-fifteen seconds, even being only the size of a compact car, it equalled the brilliance of the full moon ... although it orbits 485 miles above the earth's surface, at over 17,000 miles-per-hour it moved enough that the five-second exposure i took captured it as a streak of light ... i was, to say the least, most impressed ...

... before we left our friend, wayne, treated me to a fantastic view of the orion nebula ... to witness stars being born, i can think of no better way to spend a cold winter's eve ...

He burned his house down for the fire insurance
And spent the proceeds on a telescope
To satisfy a lifelong curiosity
About our place among the infinities.
ROBERT FROST

... i left for rhode island in the middle of the night ... having the highway pretty much to myself, i set the cruise control, thought of the orion nebula, and smiled all the way to my brother's house ...

January 17, 2016

WIRE BRIDGE THERAPY

... i was down, my usually well-controlled seasonal affective disorder stimulated by some recent negative news, so i sent a little note to john, "would you like to go out for a couple of hours and see if we can find some pictures" ... i'm sure he was able to decipher the hidden part of my message, and he responded immediately, which if you're looking is as good as you'll every find for a definition of friendship ... 

... we wandered up to the wire bridge in north new portland ... the carrabassett was open, but large chunks of ice scattered along the shore were evidence that last week's unseasonal torrential rain had flooded away the upstream ice floes ...

... blue sky, temperature hovering right at freezing, no wind, it was a beautiful day ...

... at my feet, autumn in peaceful repose ...

... john snapped a picture of me ...

... i captured an image of him as he photographed the upstream view ...

... walking across the bridge deck, i paused to admire the crystal warmth of the sunlight reflecting off the waters below, and, in that moment, i ceased to be lost ... 

... over one-hundred fifty years old, the bridge's patient cable anchors served me reminder of things of which i needed reminding ...

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

WILL ALLEN DROMGOOLE

MOST FASCINATING

... this is my fuji x-t1 ... the little iridescent rectangle is the camera's CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) image sensor, which serves the same function as film did in the olden days ... this particular APSC-sized sensor, produced by sony, is 9/10"x6/10" (similar to the now ancient "half-frame" 35mm format) ...
... the fuji's sensor has 16,700,000 tiny little cameras imbedded upon its surface ... each of these little units will record a single point, or "pixel," of the overall image ... this is akin to an artist producing a picture by placing many tiny dots of paint on a canvas rather than using brush strokes, as in this sample of pointillism from paul signac's 1892 femmes au puits ...

... the size of each of these little CMOS sensors determines the ultimate "sharpness" of the pictures which can be produced ... avoiding the technical, a 16-megapixel sensor camera with a modern lens will record images at least equal in sharpness to any my father could produce using his beloved petri flex v ...

... now to the absolutely fascinating part of all this ...

... each of those teensy-tiny little CMOS sensors looks like this ...

... this is what they look like under a microscope ...


... how tiny are they ... ??? ... well, you must've figured that they must be extremely small, since 16,700,000 of them fit on a surface not much larger than a postage stamp ...

... it would take 20 of them side-by-side to equal the thickness of a human hair ...

... to give you an idea of their minuscule size, image that each of the sensors is one-inch square ... if they were this big, then the camera's CMOS sensor would cover almost 2-1/2 acres, or, including the end zones and sidelines, approximately two football fields ... !!! ...

... if you could shrink eight flat-screen hd tv sets down so that they all fit on your thumb you'd have a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor ... !!! ...

... fascinating ...

... absolutely fascinating ...

... and, of course, this has virtually nothing to do with taking a good pictures ...

January 6, 2016

A READER

... robert steele, one of re-books' "regulars," stopped in for a visit ... tucked away in the back corner seat, where gruesome death from collapsing piles of books is always an imminent threat, i snapped a picture ... i'm still working on a black-and-white interpretation, for color i just couldn't resist this poster version ...

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman,
"Where's the self-help section?"
She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
GEORGE CARLIN

January 3, 2016

CHRISTMAS AT THE TRACY'S

... no, this first picture has nothing to do with visiting chad and his family ... this is just a quick snap i took from my living room window using my "new" thirty-year old tamron 300mm lens ... high i.s.o., hand held, not to shabby a shot from classic glass on a modern camera ...

... at the tracy's i suggested a quick family picture ... too quick, especially considering that i'm still becoming accustomed to the many dials and buttons on my fuji x-t1 and it seems i neglected to take the camera off the automatic shutter setting (thus the blur), so the result was more of a snapshot than anything else ... no matter, next time i'll get it up to "professional" quality ... even so, i doubt if i'll get a better picture of this wonderful family ...

... dan was being rather intense and em quickly stepped in to balance out the shot ...

... stealth stalking the animal crackers, i believe ...

... "look at the pretty flowers," she's completely unaware of their surrender ...

... in our first explorations of the "guinness book of world records" i'm sure that as kids we, like megan, were also completely mesmerized ...

... dan demonstrated his new "chromebook" ... i thought, "forget computers, this marvelous laptop is less than half the price of my apple ii's teensy little 9" green-and-white monitor" ...

... why do parents think kids need big screen tv's ... 

... of course, being his age, off came the shirt and we all learned of the many neat things he can make out of his belly-button ...

... "i just like to see how long before he finds out i've got one of his feet" ... the dog, being a most intelligent creature, took several minutes to acknowledge what he knew the second she grabbed hold, "i'll never tell her this, but i sooooooooo love having my foot held" ...

... dan, off into dan's other world ... a tiny bit, i'm envious ...

... for my present the family gave me two bags of fresh bagels from "bagel central" in downtown bangor ... included was a gimongous container of creamed cheese ... i said, "chad, this stuff is actually healthy if you only use the same amount as you would of butter" ... he scolded me, "yea, but what's the fun in that" ... when i got home sometime after 10pm i toasted up a bagel, applied a chad measure of creamed cheese, and topped that with some of liz's nirvanic raspberry jam ... odd, jam from liz as a christmas present, bagels and cheese from the tracy's, and, for my birthday, the plates were from roger, who helps make them ... 

... mmmmmm, what a merry christmas, and, since i only put one of the bags of bagels in the freezer, what fun the next couple of days're going to be ...

... what a lucky man i am, indeed ... (and, yes, ma, while i never was much good at singing that old hymn, i do remember to count my blessings) ...