This is one of my first infrared images that I created about ten years ago. It is interesting to look back and see how my photography has changed over the years. It is also interesting to notice how my subject interest has remained the same. I am always on the lookout for old structures that cause me to think and reflect on the way life use to be.
This image was created on the way back home from a photography workshop with Tony Sweet in the Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the themes he worked with the group on was infrared photography. Old farm structures were one of the subjects we worked on. Skip forward to today … I am planning a trip to the Palouse this spring to photograph the rolling hills and old farms. This summer I have scheduled a workshop with Tony Sweet focusing again on infrared imaging. How things have changed; how things have remained the same.
When I was admiring our little witch hazels, my memory reflected back to the beautiful witch hazel grove in Longwood Gardens. The grove is comprised of mature yellow, orange, and witch hazels. It is a star attraction in mid-winter, especially when there is snow on the ground.
Longwood Gardens is a real treasure and a must see when in the Philadelphia area.
Looking out over our front yard, I reflect on memories of bygone childhood years. Outside our farmhouse door, in the foreground I see the snow covered apple trees with a few remaining apples hanging on the wild branches that need to be pruned. A little farther out I see our neighbor’s newly planted apple orchard. Behind the new apple orchard, I reminisce running through the old cherry orchard looking for low hanging delicious treats. And above the cherry orchard, I dream of the hours I would spend roaming around the sagebrush hills behind our orchard.
I enjoy looking over our Heatherwood landscape as I appreciate the borrowed views from our neighbors’ properties.
The siege of our Capitol yesterday by the Trump-incited mob is a travesty of respect for our democracy. For me, it will never be forgotten.
I reflect on more sane times like this image taken on a warm summer late afternoon around a decade ago. I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to be able to freely walk around the various sections and chambers of the Capitol back in the Reagan administration. It made me proud to watch open Congressional sessions. I gained an insight and appreciation of our Democracy in progress. Those opportunities are no longer available to the general public.
Many have not had the opportunity to visit the Capitol. My aunt, who was a retired school teacher, saw the Capitol for her first time in her late years. Tears came to her eyes, and she exclaimed that every young student should have the opportunity to visit the Capitol to understand how our nation is governed.
For the next several posts, I will share images of the experiences I have had working in and visiting our Capitol.
This Fourth of July will be different that any other. The Fourth of July has always been a special time when I’ve celebrated with family and friends. I remember growing up and having family get-togethers at Sportsman’s Park in Yakima and watching fireworks at the Selah Park. I’ve been lucky enough to spend the Fourth in Washington, DC four times. I’ve watched fireworks over the Capitol Mall … what a glorious experience. Our University of Washington college group (the Whizzies) have gotten together for the Fourth every year since the the mid 80’s. For the past 30+ years we have joined together at Sunriver Resort in Oregon. We have watched the Whizzy children grow up and have children of their own. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all our lives but not our spirit. Though we will not physically get together, we will have a collective Zoom event to celebrate the Holiday and our friendship.
In these difficult times, let’s all take the time to reflect on what this special holiday represents. It is a time to be grateful for what others have given to insure our independence and freedom. It is a time to give back to our Country and peoples and to make our Nation stronger.
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.
Mother’s Day is synonymous with the full Spring bloom. In the areas that I have lived, Mother’s Day weekend is the time to start planting annuals. I can visualize Mom bending over on her hands and knees working in her garden.
Mother’s Day has always been a special Holiday for me. It’s been a time when I would do little things that brought a bright warm smile to Mom’s face. All of us kids would fuss over Mom and thank her for all that she did. We could have never asked for a more wonderful, warm, supportive, and loving mother. She was always there for us, no matter the situation. She was the balance in my life as I was growing up and also as I faced challenges throughout my adult life.
So on this special day, let’s all cherish all that our mother’s have given us. Reflect, be thankful, and give Mom all the love in our hearts.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom! My love is always with you!
Looking down on this row of smudgepots from the old cherry orchard brought back many memories of my childhood. Sixty years ago, I can remember waking up to skies covered with smoke. A thin film of soot covered anything that was open. The soot could even seep in through cracks into our house. Walking outside I remember feeling the smoke in my lungs. These pots were used to produce heat to protect the spring flowering buds from frost. The oil-burning smudgepots were placed between the rows of trees to produce a warm bed of heat. Cherry trees were the most susceptible to the frost because they typically were the first to bloom in the Spring.
Smudgepot lighting was always a special time when I was old enough to work in the orchards. I can remember hanging out in Grandpa Brown’s bunk house with several other school buddies in an evening when a frost was expected. We were suppose to do homework, but that never happened. We would “horse around” and then try to catch a little sleep. When the temperature stated to drop, we would rush out and light the oil in the pots. We would then monitor the temperature until it rose above freezing. We would then rush back out and turn the pots off. After shutting down the pots we would go home and get ready for school. I left my oily and smoky clothes in the garage. I would shower and get dressed, then head down to school. Most of my school pants were white denims. It didn’t take long to get them covered with the soot left by a previous night’s smudging. After school, we would go back out to the orchards and refill the smudgepots to prepare for the next freeze.