Old Guy Photography

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It’s Thursday?

It’s Thursday? Feels like Saturday, but since my forced retirement almost everyday seems like Saturday. I did just here lately receive a marker to help me keep up with the days when my Sweetheart started dialysis three times a week; every single week of the year. DinerSeating-1bwSo, now Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays have a new meaning which is four hours waiting for her to have her treatment and then be ready to head on home. I am during the treatment period, three days a week, left to my own devices. Oh … my.

I have been left to my own devices before and for someone who has no sense of time or dates, that is a burdensome predicament fraught with pitfalls and dangers. But, I come by my no sense of time honestly and unfortunately it took many, many years of frustration for my wife to finely understand and accept my handicap.

Anyway, I have learned a few valuable lessons about losing track of dates and time during the years but they all came at a price. My Sweetheart used to have Thursdays off way back when we first were married … and she worked. She would have my lunch fixed and ready and I was able to come home and enjoy a hour with her before returning to the grind. During the first part and last part of the week I ate lunch at the diner.

The lunch type system worked pretty well, but as many things in this unpredictable life was prone to human frailties and shortcomings … that would be MY human frailties and shortcomings of course …

Well, sure enough, I came to my senses one Thursday as I finished my diner lunch and realized I was completely in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. Stuffed full with everything on the left side of the menu including pie, I proceeded home at a rapid pace and apologetically walked in to find a wonderful pork chop with all the fixin’s lunch waiting for me. Well … I could have confessed to more than just being late, but I learned the hard way that in more times than not … it is best to keep your yapper shut. Yep, the true secret to martial bliss is knowing when and where to keep that yapper shut.

Everything was really good; really good don’t you know. I even had a second pork chop with a tad more fried potatoes, sweet corn and hot buttered rolls. I smiled like a mule eating briers. I got a little worried when I caught the dog staring at me. Through penetrating eyes she knew I was full of it and the definition of guilty. We had been together around ten years and she knew me like a book. Fortunately, she couldn’t talk and I wasn’t about to start. It was another twenty years before I told my Sweetheart about that Thursday.

Funny … she stared at me with that same penetrating look I had feared from my dog back in the day …


Next Week … Something Interesting or something current …

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A New Canon Camera Owner …


Nikon D80 And The Canon EOS Rebel G

I took a photograph with a Canon Camera today. From what I observed, the skies didn’t darken, villagers bearing torches and pitchforks didn’t chase me down narrow cobblestone streets, and small children have yet to stop and pelt me with stones whenever I walk by. Despite rumors and dire warnings … I heard the reassuring clatter of a 35mm  shutter opening and closing for the first time in decades. That familiar sound harbors neither malice or prejudices.

I have been a Nikon man ever since I hung up my old 4X5 Crown Graphic sheet film camera. Starting with a pocket Nikon 4100 I progressed up to the D80 I use today, Nikon is what has worked for me. The Canon 35 mm camera is a return to 35 mm film, or a return to my origins.

When I was a young man back in ’65, I bought two cameras. One was a Asahi Pentax 35 mm and the other was a Yashica Twin-Lens 120. The twin lens gave up quickly and I ended up carrying the Pentax everywhere from France to Turkey and all points in-between. I must have owned four of five of the cameras and didn’t use much else until I obtained my Crown Graphic 4×5 large format camera.

The Canon is a lightweight camera that is quite easy to load and use. You got to get used to the control settings but other than that the only fallback is that it is a film camera. No matter what you do … a preview of your photograph will not show up on the back of the camera. And, I will admit that I have become quite spoiled by the instant gratification a digital camera gives when you press the shutter release button. I will have to use some of the patience I use shooting bird photographs and put it in play waiting for next day service.

I haven’t finished shooting the first roll of film. Noir type photographs are planned, but I am first running a roll of color through the camera. It would be a good thing to get a feeling about what it likes and doesn’t like.  We shall see what happens.

I will give a hats off to Master Photographer Kurt Clark from Bellevue, Washington. He uses several of these cameras and it was a post of his on Facebook that got me interested in film again.


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Down The Road …

Just after scouting out a photographic location, I drove home through North Jamestown. It was then I noticed the horses at the Mitza Smith Horse JEMDSC_1235-1And Small Critter Refuge were down close to the fence bordering a dead-end side road. Well, not all of them but a good photo-opts worth. I just parked in the road and walked over to the fence. I had an 18-105 mm lens on the Nikon which was adequate for what I had in mind.

The horses were great; letting me get all the images I wanted. It was when I was about to wrap it up that they made a beeline for the fence. Now I know little about horses. Back in Tennessee my Grandfather raised hogs and the only encounter I had with a horse was an unauthorized ride ending with me being thrown into a dirty water pond.

I do know they will kick you unconscious, eat a straw hat in a minute, push you down and bite the fire out of you. Common sense tells you when encountering something that large to keep your distance, and resist the urge to put your hand or fingers around their mouths. But … I was safely on the other side of the fence and couldn’t resist rubbing their nose and forehead, carefully, and talking to them like they were large dogs.

JEMDSC_1233-1What I didn’t have was something to eat to give them and that made me feel bad. Honestly in my defense, I don’t know what the creatures eat. I did a shoot of heavy draft horses years ago and had my pockets filled with carrots to give to them. They wouldn’t eat them and acted like they had never seen them. The only one who was happy about my predicament was a Billy Goat who wouldn’t leave me alone.

I contacted Ms Mitza and found out her horses like corn, carrots and apples. When I return again, I will have some treats for them. And that will be soon. The horses are wonderful.


Next Week … Mr. Andrew or something current …

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Early Mornin’ Coming Down …

Into The Trees ...

Into The Trees …

The sunrise is a ways away … but I don’t mind waiting. My mornin’ routine is all by design baring the possibility of chance and intrusion. I love to come out to the front porch early, sit in my swing, and breathe the clean air of a new day. Usually, at my fingertips is my coffee and a large jar of Jumbo Virginia Salted Peanuts. The throwing peanuts are for the Blue Jays, and of late, the Cardinals and one curious Titmouse who carries off peanuts almost as large as itself. The extra birds I cannot explain.

Later in the mornin’ I will have my ration of gruel (oatmeal) with two submerged pork sausage patties maximum.

At times, the Blue Jays are waiting on me though some mornings it will take up to thirty minutes before the show up. They gather singly, or in twos or threes on the lower branches of the trees and stare at me … waiting for their breakfast or early morning snack. If I am slow to respond or have fallen asleep, the mornin’ gathering makes a racket of screams, whistles, squawking and such caterwaulin’ that I have to pay attention and dig into the peanut jar.

Peanut Thief At The Bird Bath

Peanut Thief At The Bird Bath

I generally arch a throwing peanut down below them and watch as they dive through the branches for the treat. The older Blue Jays will land and study both the peanut and myself along with the Gretchen dog. They fly away at their leisure. The younger Blue Jays dive down and more often than not grab and escape with the peanut without their feet touching the ground.

When the light gets to where I can start trying to take a few photographs, I start placing peanuts in the center of the bird bath. In the early morning, the light is better there than anywhere else in the yard. The younger Blue jays had trouble with the water for a time since they couldn’t judge how deep the brackish liquid was staring back at them. After a few awkward attempts and several successful efforts, they are no longer slowed down by their drinking water.

One strange coincidence had a Cardinal come down and retrieve one of the Blue Jay peanuts. I was so surprised I missed the photograph. Later another came by for another peanut and though the photograph has the bird at an odd angle … rear-end pointing towards the camera … a peanut can clearly be seen in its small mouth.

Though A Bad Angle ... This Cardinal Has A Mouthful Of Peanut ...

Though A Bad Angle … This Cardinal Has A Mouthful Of Peanut …

All the while I am feeding the Blue Jays and their unexpected guests, my neighbor, who also has an early morning regimen, is feeding several nearly wild kittens that have taken up residence on his front porch. It is irony standing knee deep in irony.

I am not a cat person so …

To keep the peace, I may have to concede the front yard to my neighbor and go back to the back porch where I am really more comfortable. And, the Blue Jays are quite familiar with the tall pine tree and bird feeders containing black oil sunflower seeds. We shall see.


Next Week … Down The Road or something current …

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