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.

December 24, 2012

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-125@110mm-F6.3-1/60th-3 Flash-ISO200
... the girls and i had our christmas today ... as you can see, it's rather obvious that as usual i got the absolute best presents ... roger happened to stop by for a visit and he graciously served shutter clicking duty so that after i took this picture he could snap one of the three of us (next entry) ... after that, it was on to baked chicken, gummy rice, sweet corn, homemade rolls, and, of course, ben & jerry's, along with a couple of good movies ... as a wise ol' latin guy said a long, long time ago, "a perfect day is made in perfect company" ...

December 14, 2012

SANTA & SENSLESSNESS

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@70mm-F6.3-1/60th-Bounce Flash-ISO400

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@17mm-F6.3-1/60th-Bounce Flash-ISO400

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@70mm-F6.3-1/60th-Bounce Flash-ISO400

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@70mm-F6.3-1/60th-Bounce Flash-ISO400

... my friend, robert, asked me to come over to the lawrence library yesterday evening to take some pictures while he served as santa for the kids ... this morning, cooling down from my daily exercise, i noticed on my newsfeed that there had been "a shooting at a school in connecticut" ... it caught my attention just enough for me to say to myself, "how sad," then i took my shower and headed out to run errands ...

... it was a bit later, while waiting for the house of pizza to finish preparing our lunches, that i watched in horror as the details of the terrible tragedy unfolded on the restaurant's big screen tv ... after that the walk back to the shop with the food, much of the rest of this day, it's all a tired blur ...

... i remember when i was a kid living in alaska, and one of my pals died in an accident, that the minister gave a sermon about "plans" which we "couldn't understand" ... on the ride home i asked ma, but, now looking back from what was then her side of life, i realize that she was too upset to console me ... it was pa, when we got back to the house, who said, "don't go in just yet" ...

... after mike and sue and ma had gone inside, he told me to get into the front seat, then took me for a drive ... he remained silent, even after he had pulled the car into one of his favorite places, a little turn-out at the spot where the lofty chugach mountains squeezed the tarmac to within a few feet of the wave battered edge of turnagain arm's frigid waters ... it was only after we'd sat for awhile that he turned to me and said, "some things make sense, pat, and some things make sense in time, but some things, some things will never make any sense" ...

... i thought on it for a minute ... "but, pa," i asked, "which one of them was this" ...

... "i don't know, pat, i don't know" ...

... then we drove home ... as i sat close to him he let me put my hand on the wheel, and i pretended that i was steering the car ... for that afternoon, at least, the illusion of control comforted me ...

... today, in this moment of absolute senselessness, i so wish my pa was here to take me for a drive ...

December 11, 2012

ONIONS

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... out for a stroll with my camera, if i do not actually discover the world, even in what i know i'm sure to find something new ...

NEWELL AND BALUSTER AND RAIL

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... when in doubt, photography is about contrast ...

PEPPER & SALT

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... sitting at the counter in the selah tea cafe on main street, waiting, i wondered, "why do we always say 'salt and pepper'" ... i think about stuff like that ...

AGAIN, WHAT IS THE OLYMPUS PROJECT?

... one of you, a recent addition to my journal bcc list, asked, "you label a lot of pictures as 'olympus e-p1 project,' what does that mean" ... so, for all the newcomers, here's the scoop ... 


... this is a "festival" ... by altering the top plate and changing the engraved labeling a famous german watchmaking company offered their own expensive version of the rather pedestrian "jubilee" produced in america by the bosley company ... possibly through some sort of wheelin' and dealin' transaction, in 1958 pa secretly purchased a festival in west warwick, rhode island, while we were making a stop on our cross-continent journey to take up residence in alaska ... it was his favorite camera for several years, until he took up using an argus c-3 ...


... the witnauer had superior optics, but i've come to think that pa just didn't want to take the little jewel-like festival out into the wilds, a place more suited to the ruggedly indestructible argus (a.k.a. "the brick") ... as i heard him comment, "unlike the german machine, no matter how humid or cold it gets the shutterleafs on the argus never stick" ... 

... after we moved to guam in 1965 he let me leave the house with the festival, it was with the little german camera that i first began taking pictures on my own ... later, when pa would allow, i also began using his beloved petri flex v ...


... the petri was the first "single-lens-reflex" i ever used ... an "slr" has a mirror located within the camera body ... above the mirror is a five-sided prism, a "pentaprism," which allows the user to look directly through the lens of the camera ... when the shutter button is pushed the mirror flies up from in front of the shutter (that would be the "reflex" action) which quickly opens and closes to take the picture, then the mirror drops back down ... much more complexity than the previous cameras, which utilize a separate viewing window ("viewfinder"), but the virtue of the slr is that the photographer can easily utilize lenses with different powers, such as telephotos (telescopic lenses) ...

... in 1969, while visiting in london, for the first time i purchased my own camera, an olympus sp 35* ...



... i'd gone to england on the sly, as in, "i'm going to england, ma" ...

... "really, when" ... "tomorrow" ...
... "how're you getting there" ... "got tickets on pan am" ...
"what about a passport" ... "skipped school, went to boston and got one" ...
"what're you going to do in england" ... "oh, i'll find something" ...

... pa, of course, both couldn't and refused to be flustered ...

... "do you need a ride to the airport" ...

... i remember that during the month or so that i was in england i tossed the leather case and made sure to let the camera's chrome get get scuffed up a bit, since i had absolutely no intention of declaring it and paying duty when i returned to the states ... it was a great little camera, and it served me well until i bought my first nikon ( a cool story for another journal entry, perhaps) ...

... over the years i've own nikons, leicas, mamiyas (both 35mm and 2-1/4), yashicas, canons, pentaxes, the list seems to go on and on ... each and every camera has been appreciated, all served me well, to the point that just from weddings my trusty nikons have probably fully returned all the money i've ever spent on photography ... over time, however, it seems that as much as the improved technology enabled me, there was also a corresponding distancing from the "roots" of my photography, the elemental relationship formed between vision and light ... so, not wanting to return to they-weren't-quite-as-wonderful-then-as-they-are-in-reflection-now days of messy and expensive chemical based photography, i decided to see if within a modest budget (say goodbye, leica digital rangefinder) i could put together a "modern" version of the olympus ... parameters:  single focal length lens, no zoom ... separate viewfinder ... manual control of aperture/shutter speed/iso, as well as aperture preferred automation (photographer sets the f/stop, or lens opening, camera sets the shutter speed) ... the result was the olympus e-p1 ...


... oddly enough, it was priced almost exactly the same amount as the ebay listings for 45 year-old olympus 35 sp's ... truthfully, the lens isn't any sharper than the olympus' and it exhibits a lot more barrel distortion, but the light meter is unbelievably accurate and under most lighting conditions the electronic focus is quicker and more precise than the olympus' rangefinder ...

... small, light, big-pocketable ... not to "replace" anything, just a tool with which i can enjoy seeing and sharing the world ...

... *picture is courtesy of photo.net ... if you're planning some attic cleaning, you should know 
that there's a spot on my camera shelf for an olympus 35 sp ...


December 4, 2012

LADY AND THE BLUES

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

"i feel pretty"
"oh, so pretty"
 "i feel pretty and witty and bright"

 but as they drive by i notice they no longer notice me,
that they never wanted to understand
i was also so witty and bright

now i'm just another poster they've forgotten,
fading behind the glass
fading behind the glass

PATRICK GROLEAU
(WITH, AS NECESSARY APOLOGIES AND/OR RESPECT TO STEPHEN SONDHEIM)


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... this evening i strolled up to mainely brews to use up my daily coffee ration while enjoying  dave mello perform some old time blues ... seeming now a very, very long time ago, at a place in my life where i felt very alone and, to no small degree, lost, it was a comfortable constant in my routine to be able to wander downtown to the you-know-whose-pub to fill myself with a bowl of tasty chili while listening to dave strum away on his guitar ... tonight we talked about where each of us has been, and how both of us find it so important to have learned how wonderful it can be to let go of where we're going, and simply devote our energy to appreciating where we are ...

December 3, 2012

DREAM WALKER

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... i glance out my living room window to chance upon a soul seeming aimlessly wandering through the parking lot below ... source, path, direction, destination–there was a time i would have wondered–now, with memory of my own dark sentence served, i remind myself that often beginning can be found misplaced someplace between going and coming ...

November 22, 2012

A NEW WORLD

NIKON D100-NIKKOR 18-135@95mm-F6.3-1/25th-ISO640   
... i wonder if columbus ever discovered the best of what he had found ...


THE MOVIE

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
"As a child the dark confines of the house would became my own little world, and I would spend long afternoons watching the movie showing on the other side of my window."
J. GREEN

CAT


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... i'm so happy i'm a cat ...
... a cat ...
... not a nasty ol' rat ...
... not a silent swooshing bat ...
... not even a wombat (what's that) ...
... a cat ...
... fuzzy, and it's okay, cat ...
... black cat ...
... purrrrrrrrrring cat ...
... 'cause only a cat can get away with that ...
... dog needs a master, almost as much as master needs the dog ...
... not me ...
... i'm on my own ...
... not a hepcat, copycat, or even a cool-cat ...
... no alleys for me ...
... neither garfield nor sylvester nor felix-the-cat ...
... just cat ...
... cat-cat-cat ...
... get it ...

PATRICK GROLEAU

November 20, 2012

RIVER OF NO RETURN

... i just downloaded and watched "river of no return" ... i remember pa taking mike and me to see this movie at the post theater when we sere stationed at elmendorf air force base in anchorage, alaska ... i must have been 1958 or 1959, so the movie was probably in re-release, or, perhaps, it was just that the military wasn't always quite up to date in getting the "latest" in entertainment ... in the opening scene matt calder (robert mitchum) is cutting down a giant pine tree on top of a mountain, the background a sweeping downslope view of a beautiful rocky mountain valley ... the scene cuts to mitchum riding down the flank of the mountain to his little homestead situated alongside the fast flowing milky-white waters of an alpine river ...

... on the drive home after the movie i saw my brother's eyebrows furrow into the position which indicated some great thought was twisting 'round and 'round in his convoluted mind ...

... "pa, why would he be cutting down a single tree on the top of the mountain, then leave it to ride miles and miles to his house way down in the valley" ...

[... i wasn't quite sure why, but in that moment my brother reminded me of albert einstein ...]

... pa, pondering for but a brief moment, naturally, responded, "it was blocking his view" ...

... we accepted that, of course, absolutely, since in all such things pa was the authority ... at least, that is, for a short while it was fact ... later, our room a little darkened cave where the two of us practiced achieving some semblance of brotherly camaraderie, in muted voices we giggled and laughed until ma's pounding on the door reminded us that there were some things which eluded her sense of humor, especially when such banter was a serious violation of "lights out" rules ...

... "spoiling the view ... geezum ... spoiling the view ... where does he come up with that stuff ... how come we always fall for it ... he's not going to get us next time, nope, no way" ...

... but, of course, he did ... we always fell for it ... always ...





November 14, 2012

MY LITTLE GIRLS

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... quite obviously the two prettiest girls in the world ... if not, then i don't know anything about either pretty or girls ...

November 12, 2012

A NOVEMBER RIDE


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... i woke up pre-dawn to a cold, damp fog that made me lose faith in the afternoon forecast promising "warm with scattered clouds" ... back to bed, only to have roger call, "so, are you ready to go" ... he's willing to ride in what i consider to be winter conditions, partly because his bike has a wind fairing and heated handgrips, but mostly because he's nuts about riding ... me, of course, i've an aversion to any  ride requiring at its end a visit to the emergency room for hypothermia treatment, so i wished him well and turned over for a bit more shuteye ... when i awoke it was 65ยบ out, more a normal summer temperature than is usual in maine this time of year ... i donned long-johns, grabbed my new riding jacket, and headed down to mt. vernon to get my bike ...

... i did a nice circle, up around jay, then back roads to farmington, where i enjoyed a late breakfast/lunch at the irving station ... after that it was route 2 to to new sharon, up and over the cape cod hill road, then a bit or a race with the setting sun back to mount vernon ... 120 miles, what a treat ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... me, all bundled up ... i'd found a combination cold-weather/rain jacket i liked online at the motorcycle superstore, but the $240 price tag put it on my "someday" list ... while doing some grocery shopping at sam's club i found this jacket for $49 ... it's pretty much exactly the same as the "motorcycle" gear, except it doesn't have armor pads in the elbows and shoulders ... it fits perfectly, is snug and warm, quite versatile, and, equally important, it fits into my make-do-or-do-without motorcycling budget ... cross fingers, it's going to be perfect for the long-distance trips i've planned for next spring ...




November 11, 2012

THE ART TEACHER

NIKON D100-SIGMA 18-50@26mm-F5.6-1/25th-ISO400   
... art is a sculpture, a photograph, and a story told ...

THE STAIRWELL

NIKON D100-SIGMA 18-50@25mm-F7.1-1/40th-ISO400   
... in "summer of 42" herman raucher's dorothy leaves a note for hermie, in part saying "life is made of many comings and goings, and for everything we take with us, we must leave something behind" ... as  i stood looking down into the stairwell of the boston museum of art, observing the ascending and descending visitors, i wondered what it was those who were departing had left behind, and would it be discovered by those who were just arriving ...

November 5, 2012

WIPEOUT

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300MM-F9-1/1000th-ISO200   
... on christmas eve or new year's day i'd take ma on a drive down to point judith ... we'd sit in the car watching the line where the cold atlantic current battles the outflow of narragansett bay, and, while we both enjoyed watching the rhode island surfers demonstrate the fortitude and grit that proves them to be of the most seriously dedicated wave riders, ma would regale me with stories from the days when she moved to cosmopolitain rhode island from the warmth and isolation of her caribbean island home ... we'd sit for awhile, never long enough as far as she was concerned, then we'd go looking for clam cakes, since, as we all know, that's one of the primary reasons g*d created the south shore ...

NOVEMBER FIREWORKS

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@70MM-F6.3-1/40th-ISO400   
... so, just as jeff probst announced, "i'll count the ballots" (yes, i admit it, but a fellow's got to keep some sort of a sense of mainstream american culture), my television exploded ... okay, perhaps that's too strong a word ... a sort of musty ozone odor, coupled with a sharp crackling noise, like water makes when you splash it into hot grease, then a brilliant flash of light from the rear of the set accompanied by a miniature thunderclap followed by a small mushroom cloud rising up behind the television ... hmmm, close enough that i'll stick to the word "exploded" ... 

... what to do ... repair people gave quotes ranging from, "oh, a couple of hundred dollars," to, "you might as well get a new television" ... one problem creates another, of course, since the thought of purchasing a new set involved deciding whether to simply replace the set (at much less than i paid for this one several years ago), or "upgrade" to a newer l.e.d. technology ... either way, was money i didn't want to spend ... sooooo ...

... so, after a bit of internet research learning it is usually the power supply that fails on flat-screen televisions, a few dozen screws removed, and almost an hour tracking down a replacement part that was located in the united states (much, much less expensive in china, but delivery times were rather vaguely promised), i decided to risk fixing the set myself ...

... kudos to "tv city" in washington state ... no postage charged, and if it hadn't been for the transportation disruption caused by the hurricane the part would have been here overnight ... having already mastered the "how the set was put together" learning curve, it only took me ten minutes to install the new power supply ... then, with a satisfying click, the television powered up good as new ... most impressive, the onboard memory retained all the channel and image settings ...

... there's probably some sort of lesson in all this, but i'll leave that to you ... mostly, i'm happy that i made an effort to live up to one of the brags my little girls used to make of me, "our dad can fix anything" ... i can't, of course, boo-boo's and broken hearts and and a legion of disappointments have proven that, but i'm happy that at least i keep trying ... 

November 1, 2012

THE KISS

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... of the greatest of the joys of photography, despite the disdain of those who think they've somehow the prerogative to refute the concept, the "snapshot" is perhaps the most sublime manifestation of the art of "painting with light" ...

October 27, 2012

LITTLE DRUMMER BOY

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@19MM-F6.3-1/15th-ISO400   
... emilie from common street arts invited me to photograph the studio's halloween party ... liz was kind enough to serve duty as my gopher girl for the first part of the evening ... i had great fun, shot some nice pictures, and was lucky enough to remember that a plane of glass can be the border of two worlds ...

October 19, 2012

SURF OVER DOWNTOWN

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@52MM-F5.6-(3 image HDR 1sec-1/4th-1/30th)-ISO100   
... a great wave in the atmosphere just washed over waterville ... i wonder if this is how the little fish who live amongst the coral reef feel when they gaze up towards their heaven ...

... addendum: thanks to chad tracy, i now know that this is a "undulatus asperatus," what may be the newest cloud name since 1951 ...

FROM MY WINDOW

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
"In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and believe them to be true."
BUDDA

BEFORE THE WEDDING


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... on the way to sarah and gordy's wedding i snapped this picture outside of the house mike and beth rented ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... a bit of genetic code that i don't seem to have inherited, at cribbage my brother reminds me of both pa and grampy groleau ... as could they, with a single glance he can score a hand, and, a total mystery to me, he is able to comprehend the strategy of the discard to the crib ... i'd hate him for all this, 'cept he did the same thing to me as a kid when we played chess, gin rummy, and clue, so i got used to it ... i guess that there're some things for which a big brother will remain forever a big brother ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... across the street from the church behind, i happened upon a story waiting to be told ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... as always, i'm a sucker for angles ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... when i was a child this would've been a scary gate ... we'd open it, naturally, and, after a few "double-dog-dares," finally work up the courage to enter the yard ... it wouldn't take long to learn that the old woman who was always tending the flowers and carefully trimming the lilac bushes could also bake the best oatmeal cookies in the neighborhood ... she'd never complained about our trespassing and we'd keep the cookies a secret from our moms ...



THE BIG CHEESE AND THE BIG APPLE

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... snapped outside the church before the guests began to arrive for sarah and gordy's wedding, the image of jon was made with my olympus e-p1 ... the background panorama i found on the web, credit it to abe pacana (so, of course, tempted as you might be, please don't sell or use this composite for commercial purposes) ... i was just practicing my photoshopping skills, but i'm thinking that if jon ever decides to try to get elected as the mayor of the big apple, this'll make a great campaign poster ...

October 6, 2012

MOTORCYLE HALL OF FAME


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... today jon and i made a visit to the motorcycle hall of fame ... neat, tidy, well worth the $10 admission fee ... i wonder, in the late 1800s was this some forty-something man's "mid-life crisis" toy, or, perhaps, speeding by horses and carriages, was it a victorian "crotch rocket" ...


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... "15 gallons coast to coast" ... one of my favorites ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... this has to be one of the most absolutely beat machines i've ever seen ... reading how after he lost his legs dave barr rode this heap over routes such as point barrow, alaska to the freezing tip of south america, or all the way across europe and asia to the pacific ocean during the winter, i marveled at how it is a machine can serve as mechanism to demonstrate inspired perseverance ... after seeing this bike i've the thought i might like to reread charles lindberg's "we"...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... my favorite, simply because it's the one i would most like to ride ...







WASHINGTON COURTHOUSE


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... i wandered from cincinnati to columbus, following route 22 through small towns and fields of corn awaiting harvest ... in the city of washington court house i stopped to visit the fayette county courthouse ... while i'm sure the offices along the periphery of the building are well lit, the interior foyer was dismally dark, as if it were the set for some 1940's gangster movie ... in the large courtroom, which fills one side of the building, two very tired looking lawyers were having some sort of a discussion with a rather tired looking judge while a very tired looking bailiff seemed to be snoozing as he stood his post guarding the door ... sitting on the ancient wooden benches facing the central stairwell were several people, each apparently awaiting a turn before the bench ... two young girls huddled with an older women, her attire and lack of nose rings and prominent tattoos leading me to believe there was a good chance she was their lawyer ... they appeared to be having a gum popping contest while she studied the notes written in very tidy cursive on the yellow pad she kept aligned neatly across her lap ... a rather surely looking man was hunched over at the other end of the bench, it was only after a second glance i noticed his hands were cuffed in front of him ... at the door of the nearby records office a uniformed cop was chatting it up with a very pretty secretary, in his serious flirtation never ceasing to glance every few seconds in the direction of the man in restraints ... 

... large murals adorned the walls, after searching i found tacked near the water fountain a faded photocopy of a brief typewritten commentary as to the history of the paintings ... they were done by john trumbull, famous to most as the creator of the huge paintings adorning the walls in the rotunda of the united states capitol building in washington d.c. (the back of a $2 bill, too) ... apparently it was unknown for over 75 years that he had done these in ohio, but, after that fact was discovered, further inspection of the painting "the spirit of the post office" revealed that he had surreptitiously hidden his name in one of the letters in the painting ...

... the city of washington courthouse has a very unusual street layout ... while the lanes of the downtown are in a grid pattern, quite typical of midwestern towns and cities, the alignment of the grid is northwest-to-southeast, rather than the standard north-to-south arrangement ... this was done so that the courthouse did not have any rooms on a north facing "dark" side ...

... inscribed over the main entrance is the phrase, fiat justitia ruat coelum, "even if the sky falls let there be justice" ... noble words, for sure, but i departed the courthouse questioning exactly where it was located between philosophy and reality ... 






October 3, 2012

ALONG THE LITTLE MIAMI

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... i took a little drive north up montgomery, then wandered east until i found myself cruising along the bank of the little miami river ... named for the algonauians who lived in this area, the 111 miles of the little miami's course is ohio's first "national wild and scenic river" ... while it normally flows at a lesurely 1,200 cubic feet/sec, after a violent midwestern thunderstorm the river can become a raging torrent measured at over 84,000 cubic feet/sec ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... running almost 77 miles along the river is the little miami scenic trail, the longest paved multi-use bike/hiking/horseback riding trail in the united states ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... the little miami and its many small tributaries cut many deep, convoluted channels through the landscape ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
... while i will not in any way discount the autumn beauty of new england's maple trees, here in ohio the muted yellows of the fall foliage are equally attractive to the eye ...

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT