Soulful Machines — Machines, appliances, and gadgets sometimes feel like they have their own personalities — from quirky cars to dignified food processors. What’s the most “human” machine you own?

I’m looking around me house at the many machines that keep our life running more or less smoothly. I like some better than others. Use some more than others. Some are quirkier, require more coddling and even an occasional good talking to. But soulful?


Maybe it’s just the mood I’m in this morning … but nothing seems to quite fit the bill. It all seems like plastic and metal and wires today. Except the dolls. They aren’t machines. They are toys, representation of people, mostly young girls. Dressed in pretty outfits. They are souls, I think, in a plastic smiley sort of way. Each a little different from the other.

Dolls and dulcimer

The dolls are everywhere in this house. In every room but the bathrooms and the kitchen. They line shelves, bookcases, any place a dolls might stand and they watch, their sweet faces forever set in a glassy-eyes look of happiness.


Not glee. I wouldn’t stand for a gleeful doll. Too “Bride of Chucky” for me. No, my girls — and some Action Figure Guys — are pleased with themselves, but nothing morbid. Nothing frightening. They are my plastic pals. I talk to them and at night, they whisper amongst themselves, making plans for their future.

I can hear them.




Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Contrasting Colors


The color wheel is one of the primary tools of anyone who works with graphics. It shows us which colors oppose or complement each other. Most of us know it instinctively, but a reminder can be useful.

bouquet flowers september 2014

Contrast generally means the mixing of colors that oppose each other on the color wheel. Of course they don’t have to directly oppose each other. While blue opposes orange, it contrasts just fine with yellow. Green versus red — Christmas colors — are so popular we probably don’t even think of them as contrasting.

deck daisies flowers

This presented a particular challenge for me since I favor a monochrome palette, in my life and in my photography. I like gradations of color more than I like contrast, saving contrast for spot color.


The ultimate contrast is, of course, black and white, white being “all colors” and black being the absence of color. When we talk casually of contrast, we are really referring to any two colors, one light, one dark — a variation on a theme of black and white.

Hadley Snow Farm



I had just gotten back from a business trip to Tel Aviv. I had picked up some horrible bug — I drank the water — so I was home when my son called.

“Turn the TV on,” he said. He was working for Genuity, the former GTE backbone of the Internet.

“What channel,” I asked.

“Any channel,” he said.

I did. “The World Trade Center is on fire,” I said. Confused. Had there been a terrible accident? A few moments later, as I stood there watching, the second plane hit the towers.

I kept watching as I think all America — maybe the world — also watched.

The towers went down. The world has never been the same. Probably never will be the same again.

The console at my son’s office went dark … each light representing a company buried by the collapse of the World Trade Center, representing lives lost when the towers fell.

But our flag is, was, still there. Is still there. And so are we.


Super moons are full moons which coincide with “lunar perigee,” when the moon is at its closest orbital point to Earth. This moon appears bigger and brighter than a typical full moon. The true full moon was two days ago, so this is the waning, full Harvest Moon. It’s the last super moon of 2014.


We went to the movies this evening and I was able to get a few pictures from the parking lot of the theater. Kind of a bonus, because I can’t see the moon, much less take pictures of it from home. The trees block the sky. Even during the winter, the branches of our trees make getting a clear shot of the moon impossible.


The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. This year’s equinox will take place Tuesday, September 23, at which  point the day and night will be of equal length. From the solstice on, the days will get shorter day by day. Until we reach the Winter Solstice — Sunday, December 21st — the shortest day, longest night of the year. From that point on, the days get longer and hopefully, warmer.

If you haven’t yet done so, go take a look at the moon. Do it tonight because it’s just about over. It’s already a waning moon and there won’t be another super moon this year.

On nights like this, I’m very glad I carry a camera in my bag.