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.

April 29, 2016

WANDERING SEATTLE

... we took a little drive up to elliot point, where we were treated to an excellent view of "koma kulshan," currently labeled mt. baker ... as is mt. rainer, mt. baker is an active glaciated andesitic stratovolcano ... what does that mean ... ??? ... simply stated, it's blown up in the past and sooner or later it's going to blow up again ... receiving over 1,000 inches of snow every year, mt. baker is one of the snowiest places in the entire world ... the peak of mt. baker is 51 miles from where i stood taking this photograph ...

... at the point we took pictures of mukilteo light ... it's a rather tidy structure in a very neatly maintained park, so much so that i actually found it to be rather difficult to get a good picture ...

... this geometric composition was the best i could do ... i think that during a really good storm, with waves breaking high against the seawall just behind the lighthouse, this vantage would produce a most dramatic image ...

... while chad attended his conference i walked around seattle ... my first stop was the famous cinerama theater, the only one left ... although relatively few of these theaters were built, from early 1952 through the mid-60s cinerama was the imax of its time ... 

... one of my most precious memories is of pa taking us to the indian hills cinerama in omaha, nebraska, to see "how the west was won" ... he'd reserved us the "sweet spot" chairs in the middle of the seating area, and to this day i can still see him turning his head from side-to-side to follow the action on the huge curved screen ... he so loved western movies, and in the cinerama theater it was as if instead of viewing a movie we were actually within the action ...

... i strolled around, discovering all sorts of little parks ...

... i found this beautifully sculpted brickwork ...

... through mirror-like plate glass windows and doors i spied on passersby ...

... lunch was at a little tibetan restaurant ... ten items on the buffet, of which i recognized six, and all sorts of condiments, salad, and rice ... my first trip i did the left side, taking even the green pasty stuff that looked like lawnmower leavings ... as i sat the waiter came, "here's some naan, it's right out of the oven" ... "oh, i didn't order naan" ... "oh, no, sir, it comes with the buffet ... if you want more just ask" ... ??? ... !!! ... unlimited naan ... UNLIMITED NAAN ... [sigh] ... i may have to move to seattle ... second session i sampled the right side of the serving area, including the yellow mushy goo that smelled weird ... turned out, everything was quite yummy ... $11, plus tip ... that was it ... as i paid, with a big smile on my face, i'll add, the waiter said, "oh, sir, aren't you going to have some of the mango ice cream ... we make it up ourselves" ... [sigh] ... yup, i may have to move to seattle ...

... in the fish market there were zillions of bright flowers for sale ...

... fish-fish-fish ... unbelievably low prices ...

... in dallas, texas, 1963, the mysterious "babushka lady" taking pictures as president kennedy is being assassinated ...
... i found her, she lives in seattle and hangs out at the fish market ...

... leaning over the railing, i stood perfectly still for seventeen minutes, viewfinder to my eye, waiting for just the right composition ...

... i guess that in seattle "harley guy" means something a lot different than it does in maine ...

... chad said, "don't, they might be poisonous," but i went ahead and tried one ... they weren't blueberries, that's for sure ... they weren't poisonous, either ...

... a beautiful day to view the space needle ...

... when adrien and i visited seattle in 2011 we were invited by native people to join in the carving of a totem pole ...

... it now stands tall in the park beneath the space needle ...

... in the space needle's observation platform 520 feet above the street we were afforded an excellent view of seattle and mt. rainer ... when it blows this city is going to have a serious pollution crisis ...

... sunset over the olympic mountains, which we would wander a few days later ...

... dozens of new skyscrapers are being constructed in seattle ... good for businesspersons, good for the rich who like nice views out their living room windows—i'm not sure it's so good for everyone else ...

... little details, from a time when such were important ...

... very gentle things ...

... things we never thought would become offerings in antique markets ...

... a man, who for twenty-minutes paced back and forth talking on his cell phone, alternating between anger and passive-aggressiveness as he ignored puget sounds scenic splendor ...

... never having completely left childhood, i enjoyed the little harbor tugs ...

... if i had to be boat, it would be one of these ...

... the "rat pack," in a wharf shopping area ...

... long after mt. rainer has once again erupted and buried seattle and the surrounding area like was pompei by vesuvius in 79 ce, future archeologists will dig up these signs, and, like the rosetta stone, they will use them to decipher the languages of the ancient people of which they will know so very little ... 

... on a break from building, admiring a building ...

... nebuchadnezzar II would be pleased, i think ...

... you can rent a bicycle for only $8/day ... that includes a sanitary wrapped helmet, and you can return the bike to any of many locations in the city ...

... executed in chalk, eco-friendly graffiti ...

... decisions, decisions, decision ...

... tucked against the building wall, i waited perhaps a quarter-hour before everything fell into place ... not as well-known, perhaps, as seattle's other "flatiron building," but i find this west coast "times square building" to be architecturally compelling ...


... and, last of my trip to seattle, my favorite picture ... i'd like to think henri c.b. would be pleased ... i saw the scene developing, saw the moment long before it occurred, moved myself a few feet so that time and space themselves came into perfect conjunction, and then i waited—i waited what seemed like forever, yet i know it was only a few seconds—until without a conscious thought on my part my fuji's shutter snapped open and closed ... of this picture i feel pride thinking i might actually be a real photographer ... 

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition,
in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.
Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence,
in the confines of one single photograph,
of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.
HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON


April 24, 2016

NIKKOR AIS 300MM F/4.5 LENS

... i bought my first nikon, a nikkormat ftn, in 1971 ... in the beginning my "mentors," so to speak, were the staff photographers of national geographic, and thus it was in my dreams to someday have tucked in my camera bag a sample of each of the very expensive nikon lenses they all used in their work ... top of the list was the nikkor 300mm, but, with its breath stopping price, and that in my wedding photography it wasn't a lens i really needed, i could never quite rationalize purchasing one for myself ...

... welcome to the new century ... !!! ... i did a bit of "pin money" computer work, and, seeing that i'd reached the limitations of my trusty tamron sp 300mm, i decided to troll on ebay to see if i could pick up a now ancient used nikkor 300mm ... after two weeks of watching, waiting, and resisting raising my bids when others were willing to pay more, i finally grabbed a 9+/10 rated nikkor ai 300mm f/4.5 ... truth be told, if i was assessing the lens i'd be tempted to give it a "like new" rating ... it even came with the original, and rather rare, metal nikon lens cap ... how much ... ??? ... well, let's just say that at $129, including postage, i could easily relist it on ebay and make a tidy profit ...

... this afternoon i went for a little wanderabout town to test the lens ... on my fuji x-t's aps-c sensor the lens is equivalent to a powerful 450mm,  so i carried it mounted on my manfrotto monopod ... for sure this was a bit of an experiment, since it's quite clear that this lens is most definitely meant to be used secured atop a very solid tripod ...

... still, off i went ...

... down by the railroad tracks i experimented with holding the lens steady ...

... from the wire bridge, deck swaying rather sharply in the brisk wind, i snapped a picture of the old scott mill ... here was once manufactured a significant percentage of america's toilet paper ...

... i stopped to admire the little park in winslow ...

... as i walked the railroad tracks a tiny robin hopped along in front of me, reminding me that spring is finally here ...

... looking back through the railroad trestle ... someday i will walk across this bridge, if for no other reason than i would have done so when i was fifteen ...

... i attempted a quick snapshot with the lens, something for which it's not really designed ...

... in the middle of the memorial bridge i took a few minutes to watch the kennebec river flow over the dam ...

... in a few months, after the snow in the mountains is all melted, the flow of the river will be greatly decreased ... 

... just before i crossed the street in front of my apartment i noticed this dog enjoying the afternoon sun as he patiently awaited his owner ...

... i think i will keep the lens ... 

April 23, 2016

OLYMPIC WANDERABOUT

... after chad's morning workshop ended we headed out to wander 250 miles to the far reaches of the olympic peninsula ... about fifty miles from our destination we found ourselves twisting and turning along the very edge of the sea ... chad kept saying, "the sign says thirty" ... of course, my response was, "when the sign is yellow it's only a suggestion" ...

... near neah bay we crossed into the home of the makah indians ... after a short drive and a twenty-minute hike we found ourselves at the end of the world, cape flattery, which is also the northwesterly point in the contiguous 48 states ... 

... it was still early in the afternoon, with a great deal of glare, so while chad explored the point seeking a perfect vantage for a sunset picture i stayed closer to the very tip of the peninsula and chatted with the handful of people who, like us, were enjoying "the 1% path" ... this gentleman was all excited because when he turns 70 this year the state of washington will allow him to fish for free ... i relaxed as he snapped pictures of tatoosh island, knowing that in a short while i would be photographing the lighthouse sillouetted by the setting sun ...

... over ten miles from the bluff i stood atop, i saw this huge ship making the turn to enter the strait of juan de fuca ... as i focused my tamron sp 300mm lens i noticed that the jagged rock reef was covered with dozens of sunbathing sea lions ...

... the united states on its starboard side and vancouver island, canada, to its port, another great vessel navigated the middle of the wide strait ...

... even from a distance it was clear to me that chad had found his perfect spot ...

... ever mindful of his photographic responsibility, chad snapped a picture of me as i surveyed all the wonders before me ...
COURTESY CHAD TRACY
... after shooting several pictures of chad, i turned and walked back to climb atop the little viewing platform ... it was then i noticed that i could no longer see the lighthouse ... i became almost mesmerized as the western vista was slowly erased to white by a soft blanket of dense fog ...

... very soon, the landscape itself began to disappear ...

... although we couldn't see the sunset, for a brief moment a bit of its warmth diffused through the misty curtain ...

... in the darkening landscape, with the threat of the trails becoming treacherously slippery from the mist, we knew we should head back to the car ... even so, we kept taking pictures, and i think for both of us it was a great tearing away to have to depart this magical headland ...

... the cool mist bringing an ache to my knees, i walked very slowly ... so slowly that my eyes had time to explore along the trail ... sometimes, it seems, old knees can be a good thing ...

... in a forest that receives almost 100 inches of rain every year, there is only that which sprouts and all else that is being returned to the earth ...

... odd, but it made sense that rather than appearing threatening or malevolent these old trees seemed only beckoning us, "remain longer, slow yourself, remain awhile longer in our time—a time within which only that which truly belongs can stay with you—you may not know it, but you need the rest" ...

... as we drove back towards civilization we left the fog behind ... before the road turned inland we paused for a last look ... herman raucher called it "the singularity of the sea," but to me it was simple loneliness ... this place, however, reminds us that loneliness need not be a definer, but instead can serve reminder ... 

... driving back in the dark we finally gave in to our hunger and stopped at an "open 24 hours" grocery store to purchase a rather junky supper ... munching down as we cruised the highway we missed an important turn and ended up adding over an hour to the route ... the serpentine road was etched along the edge of the olympic mountains, wet slippery tree-seed-covered slick nastiness in a black, black night ...

... we didn't care ...

... tired sore-foot pictured-out weary, we didn't care at all ...