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.

July 26, 2016

BACKYARD WANDERING

... rufus ... "please, oh, please, sir, i so need a treat" ... sorry, rufus, but i've learned that this is pretty much your day-to-day normal look ...

... near as i can figure—and i freely admit that identifying butterfly species can be a rather difficult process—this is a Speyeria aphrodite, common name Aphrodite Fritillary ... in the 1800s it was quite common in New England but now, perhaps due to the use of chemical pesticides or global warming, it is becoming rather rare ... how sad ... 

... these're chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus ... i've been feeding them by hand, the resulting skinnerian behavioral modification outcome being that the minute these two see me step out off the back porch they turn into raucously clucking beggars ...

... a little bug ...

... tomatoes, in a few weeks another thing i will enjoy when i visit ...

... there are well over 350,000 types of beetles ... i think this one's rather attractive, but i'm sure that since it's in the garden sarah would disagree ...

... ma would answer, "well, sometimes a nice insect will give a ride to one of his friends who is tired" ... pa, of course, was rather blunt, "they're making more bugs" ... we were confused—until we weren't confused, that is ...

... five pictures, the first focussed on the beetle's head, each successive image focussed slightly further along its body ... the images were then "focus stacked" using photoshop cs6 ... done hand-held, i'm quite pleased with the result since most often this process is done with the camera mounted rigidly atop a tripod ...

... bug exploring the flower, me the light ...

July 25, 2016

EXTRAORDINARY—ABSOLUTELY EXTRAORDINARY

... having fed the chickens and provide rufus and winston, my canine pals, with the morning attention they so very desperately require, i decided on a soak in the backyard hot tub before my shower ... shutting up the house in preparation for the heat of the day, i was checking the front door was closed when i noticed a hummingbird flitting around the flowers on the other side of the driveway ... i went back to the living room, attached the 200mm lens to my camera, and then stepped onto the porch thinking i might be able to snap a photograph of the tiny bird ... as i focussed the lens upon my subject i became aware that i was framing what appeared to be a very, very weird bird ...

... i went back inside, attached my favorite tamron 90mm sp macro lens, and then with as much stealth as i'm capable i slowly worked my way to a spot only a few feet from the flowers ...

[REMEMBER, IF YOU CLICK ON AN IMAGE IT'LL APPEAR FULL-SIZED]

... clearly, the object of my attentions was not a bird, but some sort of nectar sipping bug ...

... unlike the hummingbird i had sought to photograph, the little insect seemed unaware of my presence and i was able to position my lens only a couple of feet from its weird curly tongue ...

... i went back into the house and did some quick research ...


... Macroglossinae Hemaris thysbe, the "Hummingbird Moth" ...

... i remembered that the evolutionary split between animals and insects occurred over 500,000,000 years ago, and became fascinated that after 1/2-billion years of divergent development on both sides of the tree of life, wings are still wings ...

[a somewhat oddly interesting note: the simplest distinction between the protostomes, ancestors of insects, and the deuterostomes, ancestors of animals, is that in the embryos of the former the mouth develops first while in the case of the latter it is the opposite body orifice that first appears]

... this tiny creature, as alien to me as, i'm sure, i am to it—i was captivated ...

... absolutely captivated ...

July 23, 2016

ANOTHER CHICKEN SITTIN'

... after last night's storms the spiders were out in force ...

... even at nine in the morning the heat was already setting in ...

... the morning sun was playing with these flowers ...

... i don't know their names yet ... this is "friendly" chicken ...

... winston can look serious, but it's all an act ...

... angus enjoying the warm asphalt ...


July 20, 2016

MY GRAMMY

... scanned from a kodachrome slide taken in grand cayman in 1976, i believe, ma's mother, my grammy, elizabeth jackson ...

... simply the thought of a disapproving glance from her was more than enough to ensure that i very, very carefully knocked the dirt from my shoes before entering the house ... she made for us cassava cake so rich that a single piece was in itself a fabulous meal ... of the special coconut candy she would make up just for me—well, i'll tell you, i think a fellow could a handle a long stretch of hard time if he knew that every now and then a little package of that carefully crafted caymanian confection was going to arrive by post ...

A STORM WANDERS BY

... towards evening the sky to the west of my downtown apartment began to hint at what the national weather service had already issued emergency warnings ... as i took this picture the weather radar was displaying a giant red blotch just over the horizon to the far left in the photograph ...

... soon great mountains of cloud erupted into the stratosphere ... i clicked the little "future" button on the radar display and saw that there were now two red blotches ... it appeared they were going to pass on each side of waterville ... i crossed my fingers ...

“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.”
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


... even though a great curtain of water cascaded darkly from the sky only a few hundred yards away my rooftop vantage remained dry ...

... sirens echoed in the distance ... thinking of the warning that there might be "golf ball sized" hail or even a tornado, i could only hope that my friends living to the north of me were safe and secure in their homes ...

... then, in a moment, it was over—at least for me, that is ... 

... i asked pa if storms were g*d being angry ... "nah, they just reminded us to appreciate clear skies" ...

July 14, 2016

TREASURE HUNTING AT UMF

... liz and i took the kids to farmington to visit the university's "lots of little treasures for making projects" center ... during the summer, on tuesdays and thursdays, i believe, from 3-5:00pm students and staff from the "upward bound" program help children to creatively express themselves ... while we were there a group was making their own self-designed robots using the materials at hand ... our guys decided that "shopping" was more than enough of an experience ...

... each bin/pile/box is price labeled ... 2-10¢ is a typical cost for a single item ... dan kept track of all his own purchases ...

... sisters ...

... walker did a great job of filling his shopping bag ...

... dan was equally fascinated with every single item ...

... family shopping network ...

... "i can take this home and make lots of loud drumming noise" ... i smiled, of course, since it's not going to be in my house ...

... "how can i get the best deal for my money" ... one of the most effective ways to teach math ...

... megan, it seems, wasn't going to let any attribute of an object go unexamined ...

... i noticed liz's "omg, i'm not sure about that" face ...

... walker had found the world's biggest knitting needle, and was walking around with it humming the star wars death theme ...


... between being told that if he took it home he couldn't stick anyone with it and learning that it was "so expensive he wouldn't be able to get an ice cream later," he decided to leave it behind ...

... [whew, dodged a liability bullet there] ...

... the "cool stuff store" at the university of maine in farmington is a great place for an outing with kids ... 

... after we visited the historic giffords ice cream stand ... i mean, after all, you're supposed to properly educated children, right ... ??? ...

UP MT. WASHINGTON

... before the drive up mt. washington, a final workup of picture i took of the milky way stretching above sarah and gordy's house in freedom ... i did a perspective correction of the house without altering the rest of the photograph ...

... adrien walked out onto the foundation wall of a building being reconstructed ...

 ... 80°f and clear, a relatively rare combination at the summit ...

 ... after hiking the stairs from the top-of-the-mountain parking lot to the peak, a brief rest ...

... adrien navigated us to a wonderful waterfall ...

... then, something she so very dearly loves to do, she decided to once again see if she could get her dad's heart to move all the way up into his throat ...

... it did—she was quite pleased ...

CUNDY'S HARBOUR WANDERABOUT

... not riding my motorcycle because of an injured shoulder, i've been in a bit of a funk of late ... john offered up a bit of wanderabout medicine ... after picking up essential supplies, hot coffee and hillman's donuts, we headed south towards the harpswell neck and cundy's harbor ...

... i spotted this heron and pulled the car to the side of the road ... john's side of the car had the view, so i said, "you set everything up, then i'll walk as close as i can until i spook him into taking off" ... i managed this shot only seconds before the great bird took to flight ... i've no autofocus long lens so i didn't even attempt a picture after that, but john came up with one of the most spectacular blended sequential images i've ever seen ... 

... along the coast i found that my eyes weren't working ... i've learned to not be frustrated when this happens, and amused myself by practicing simple compositions ...

... john explored under the dock ... i stayed out in the sun, knowing that if i ventured amongst the pilings i'd probably get my foot jammed between some rocks and i'd be trapped until the high tide brought an end to my misery ... (final scene: as the crowd of bibbed overall wearing fisherman looked on, "durned flatlanders, they never learn," my last breath bubble would pop to the surface just as the siren of the brunswick rescue squad could be heard in the distance) ...

... back to geometry ...

... we had a great lunch ... my eyes began to work ...

... from baily island, a classic seascape ...

... never do i tire of sharing these beautiful beach roses ...

... stretching along the coast from water's edge to water's edge, an igneous intrusion splitting the metamorphosed sedimentary ocean bottom layers once again brings me to ponder, "does the bishop ussher school of creationism avoid field trips to places such as this" ... if so, how sad, seeing as it's quite possible that g*d devoted millions and millions of years towards getting absolutely perfect the beauty of this wonderful place ...

... we asked, "does this heart rock on the gate have a particular story behind it" ... "no," replied the mistress of the house, "we just like heart rocks" ...

... there are gifts—and then there are gifts ...

... here, in this place where the word "forever" is not an abstraction, even the very worst of funks must be slowly eroded away ...