Remember the “Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” TV sitcom back in the late 50’s and early 60’s? Each episode started and ended with a little soliloquy of Dobie talking in front of “The Thinker.” Dobie was always contemplating on what the important things in life were: Girls and Money (used to get Girls). Things were much simpler back then. I decided to make good use of my “social isolation” time and did a little searching and found season 1, episode 1 of the show. It made me smile as I thought back to those simpler times and the start of the “beat” generation.
Fifty plus years later, I found myself standing along Rodin’s “The Thinker” in downtown Philadelphia. It was a difficult time for me then. I took the time to admire Rodin’s sculpture, clear my mind, and refocus my thoughts on what was the most important thing I could do moving forward. The answer was simple, live each and every day to its fullest.
Today was one of those days. I started sharing coffee and breakfast with my dear wife. We had a nice discussion, then went out to work in and enjoy our developing landscape. Later I came in for lunch and a nice afternoon nap. I woke up, did a little reading, then reviewed some of my older photography work, including this image of “The Tinker.” It triggerd old memories and I watched the episode of Dobie Gillis. Enjoying time with my wife, enjoying nature and getting a little exercise, reading to stimulate my mind, studying some classic art through my photographs, and watching a little past history … it was a simple, wonderful, and full day.
“Looking Into the Oak Grove” Yakima Arboretum, Washington
This image of oak trees in the Yakima Arboretum found me this spring before the Covid-19 restrictions. Luckily the Arboretum was allowed to remain open during this period. I was able to make several other visits to see the cherry tree bloom, the magnolia bloom, and the crabapple bloom. Several times I felt that I had the Arboretum to myself. It was a great time to just wander and let images come to me.
My walks through the Arboretum help me visualize what our little place in Selah could be in 15-20 years. This spring we planted five oak trees. We have spaced them out to create a grove where we will be able to watch them grow. It will take several years for them to be tall enough to support an understory of smaller trees and shrubs. In the meantime the grove will look bare, but I will be able to squint my eyes and imagine what it will be like when they mature.
What a wonderful gift was given to me while meandering along some back roads north of Walla Walla in the Palouse. Layers of clouds were moving above. It was breezy and fairly dark. It felt like a storm was about to come in. I had an eerie feeling around me. My partner stayed in the car while I ventured out.
I took a long exposure to capture the movement of the clouds. I looked at my image and got excited as I saw rays emerging from the barn almost fighting with the clouds moving across the image. Two different air streams were layered on top of each other. One set of clouds was moving easterly while the other was moving south easterly toward me.
It is time for me to go to the Palouse to wander again. The rolling hills, old homesteads and clouds are calling. Hopefully some local travel will be possible in the relative near future.
I’ve been laid up for the last couple of weeks and have not been able to get out and do any photographing. As such, I have been catching up on various photography topics. Jason O’Dell just put out a webcast on the Badlands that caught my eye. Jason, thanks for the stimulus. I was there for just a few hours as I drove across country from Philadelphia to Washighton. The day wasn’t the best for photography, but I was able to come up with a few that had potential. My visit was more of a scouting trip, hopefully for a return visit when I can spend the time to explore. I look back to my short visit. I look forward to when I will return.
One of my focal areas for photography is public and private gardens. I couple this interest with collecting ideas for our own landscape development of Heatherwood. Many of my photographs are simple records of interesting things elements. For others, I try to create an image that reflects the feeling I have for a specific garden design. Yet, for those special ones, I try to create an image that provides a unique perspective of what I see. My adventure through a garden is multi-dimensional. Many times I come up with ideas, but no real “keeper” images. Other times I leave with a nice portfolio of images that presents the beauty of my visit. Other times I come up with a few (maybe one) images that I feel illustrate a little creativity.
The above image is one where I am trying to create the feeling that I experienced when I saw this vignette. It is a peaceful setting where I could relax in the shade, enjoy the beauty of what is around me, and contemplate what is right with this world. It represents a design element that I am trying to create with portions of our Heatherwood landscape. Of course, here in Central Washington, the moss covered trees and tropical vegetation will be replaced with conifers, local trees, and understory vegetation.
Space Shuttle Atlantis Abstract Kennedy Space Center Museum, Florida
We have finally returned to launching Americans on a US launch vehicle from US soil. The SpaceX launch vehicle with the Crew Dragon onboard provided this signifiant milestone in our revitalized Space Program on 30 May. We have a new horizon of Space exploration ahead of us with defined programs to return to the moon and send Americans to Mars. This will happen in my life time!
I remember the launch of the Sputnik when I was in grade school. This was followed by our country’s aggressive program to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. I remember the Gemini Program highlighted by Shepard’s first flight into space and John Glenn’s record orbit around the earth. I remember the failures and successes of the Apollo program, culminating in Armstrong’s first step on the Moon in the summer of 1969. I also remember the miracle of Apollo 13.
While at Boeing, I had the opportunity to work with several of the engineers and leaders who were an integral part of the Apollo Saturn V rocket program, the Lunar Rover program and the Space Shuttle program. I moved to Washington, DC and was Boeing’s technical liaison between our Seattle staff and NASA. I met Michael Collins, the astronaut who stayed in the command module while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon. I worked with General Abramson, the ex-Shuttle Program Manager, on Strategic Defense Initiative programs. I watched the Challenger disaster with several of my Boeing associates in our Washington, DC Control Room. One of my bosses became the leader of the Space Station Integration program. I was part of our National Space Program.
When we exited from space launch programs with the last Shuttle flight in 2011, I felt a deep loss of US leadership in Space. Now after 9 years, we have made our first significant step toward the World’s New Horizon. We have returned … How proud it makes me feel.
The Yakima Area Arboretum has one of the largest and oldest crabapple collection in the country. In the Spring, the blossoms create a mass of whites, pinks, purples, and reds. The trees are all mature and the blossom display is gorgeous.
The Yakima Arboretum collection is the stimulus that has led me to try to develop a little crabapple grove as part of our home landscape. This Spring, we planted a small grouping of six crabapples, all different varieties. Being young, their spring bloom was just a harbinger of what will be in the next 10 years or so. Over the coming years I look forward to watching them grow and mature. I plan to gradually develop an understory that will pull the grove together and complement the individual trees.
Now I am back to reality (partially). I am experimenting working in Infrared to see what works best with Infrared images. Clouds, deciduous trees, and grass are always good candidates. Infrared seems to bring out some of the tonality differences among the various types of trees. Here I see the differences between the deciduous trees which have fully leafed out, ones that are in bloom, others that have just started to have leaves at their tips, as well as the conifers.
This image was created using my standard image processing steps: Balance levels in Lightroom, convert to Black and White in Sliver Efex Pro. then optimize in Silver Efex. Pretty simple!
More long exposure practice … For this image, I tried to create a feeling of slowing down time. I wanted the water to have a distinct character as opposed to being a soft blur. Time is a continuum. Each element in motion has a unique flow. Small streams of splashing water have their distinct line as opposed to being combined in a blur with others.
I wanted to practice my long exposure techniques. What a better place to work than our Japanese Garden waterfall. My target was to create a soothing feeling of a small segment of our stream as it falls into the pond. I liked how this section of the stream flowed over the edge and bounced off an intermediate rock before it scattered over a rock in the pond.