Family, History and Love

Wanda and I have been discussing, of late, the need to set down in writing some portion of our family history so that in the future our children and grandchildren will have the stories and tales of our lives direct from the source. The technophile that I am, I choose to do this online so that the what we write will be accessible and available for comment to our wider family (though I reserve the right to moderate those comments).

To that end, I have repurposed this blog. In coming posts, we will endeavor to provide an abridged story of our life (hey, everyone has their secrets). We're writing this for our children and their children and those that come later so elements of these tales will be familiar only to our family,

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mortality Redeux

My Aunt Joyce died last week. Though she was not in the greatest of health, her death caught me by surprise. When my mother died last summer, I knew that Aunt Joyce wouldn't last too many years longer. After all, she and my mom had lived together in the same small house for more than twenty years, taking care of each other, and sometimes fussing like an old married couple. But Aunt Joyce (actually Great-Aunt Joyce) had always looked after my mother, treated me and my brothers and sister as though we were her own children--all the more so since she did not and could not have any children of her own.

I called her every Sunday to check on her, and sometimes more often if I felt that she wasn't feeling well. She sometimes called me too when she was scared or lonely. When her doctor found a spot on her lung last November, she called me right away and I did my best to reassure her and to calm her down until the doctor could do more test. She told me at the end of the conversation that she was so glad that I was there for her to talk to when she she needed me. I could tell, however, that she was not only scared, but lonely and sad as well, but she seemed to be getting along.

At the end of January though, I called her one weekend and did not get an answer. I tried again the next day, and still didn't get answer. When I called other members of the family, I was told she had been taken to the hospital for a stomach infection. I spoke to her several times while she was there, hoping to reassure her and to remind her she was loved. Then one day, I called her room and there was no answer. Three days later she was gone.

The reason I write this today is that I have an automatic reminder in my calendar that pops up to remind me of her birthday. It popped up to day to let me know it was time to get her a card and small gift in the mail so it would arrive by her birthday. My mom died only four days after her 69th birthday. Aunt Joyce died only 13 days before her 78th birthday and almost 6 months to the day after my mom died. They always needed each other.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shots from Tonight's Lunar Eclipse

Canon 50mm f/1.4 Article

I just finished writing another article for my personal website. In this case, I wrote a review of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens. You can read it here: Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens review.

I do enjoy reviewing and writing about equipment, and I've received a few kudos for posting my reviews. Often when I'm shooting, I'll consider whether a particular shot will make a good example for review article. For my less frequently used lenses, I have to dig back through an archive of images to find example photographs. Fortunately, the Adobe Lightroom program allows me to filter the images by the specific lenses that were used to produce them. Lightroom has made it much easier to organize and find my photos. It's not only great for reviews, with the judicious use of keywords, it allows me to find almost any image in my extensive library in a very short amount of time.

The photo to the left is an example photo from the 50 f/1.4 and shows this lenses great low-light capability. The image was taken completely by the available light of a little bar in St. Helens, Oregon.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Article: Composition - Leading Lines, Diagonals and Curves

I just finished writing a new composition lesson on the use of Leading Lines, Diagonals and Curves. The article can be found here on my personal website. It's the 4th in a series of articles or lessons about basic photographic composition.

The lesson discusses the use of lines to add a sense of movement to your images and to guide the eye to various elements within the photograph. It also discusses the use of other geometric entities such as triangles, arcs and curves and elements that can be used within an image to provide spatial separation, to frame and to direct the viewer's eye. I hope it's useful to anyone who has the interest and the time to read it. As always, feedback is welcome.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Misty Morning

When I was in the Submarine Service, my favorite time of day, when in port, was the hour right around dawn. That was the time that I would go up on deck with a cup of hot coffee and watch the sunrise. If it was cloudy, I'd watch the mist rise off the water.

Dawn is a peaceful time of the day. The water is usually calm, the harbor is quiet, and everyone seems to me minding their own business. Since life is pretty hectic on a sub, and very crowded, a few moment of peace and solitude were necessary components to continued sanity.

I captured this image of Mount Vesuvious wrapped in the clouds from the deck of the USS Springfield on a misty day in 1994 when we were moored in Naples, Italy. It was a few days before Christmas, and we had only been in port for a day and a night after several weeks at sea.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Salt Creek

Salt Creek is an area of Death Valley that is both beautiful and intriguing. As you can see in the photo to the left, there is a long wooden boardwalk that stretches into the distance from the parking area. The boardwalk provides a path above the waters of Salt Creek. In the summer, the creek bed is mostly dry and the boardwalk rises over cracked mud and vegetation for most of its length, though there is at least a small amount of water year round.

In the spring, however, the water flows and the streams can be several feet deep and the boardwalk is quite necessary. It's at this time, the Salt Creek Pupfish population explodes and the clear waters of the stream allow clear viewing of these small creatures.

Salt Creek is a beautiful and, in the summer, empty spot. We wandered there shooting photos, even some outdoor glamour stuff, for well over an hour without seeing another soul. It would be a wonderful place to visit again.