LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!

A Photo a Week Challenge: Action Shot

Summertime - GO

None of these pictures are brand new, though some are quite recent, taken within the past few months or weeks.

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Definitely action shots … and that’s the point, right?

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Action — at our age — usually means walking and talking. At the same time! At each age, we redefine the basics.

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From the lovely Nancy Merrill, this is the Photo A Week challenge. Action shots!!

THE BEARD: A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

A Photo a Week Challenge: Beards

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE PHOTOS OF BEARDS.

Well. That presented a minor problem since Garry is clean-shaven. But aha! My son has a beard and here’s a perfect reason to take some new, updated portraits of my son.

Owen

Owen

It was his 46th birthday just the other day. I bought him a Blue-Tooth speaker to go with his phone, but new portraits seem very appropriate too. Beard and all.

Owen in profile

Owen in profile

I did not feel inspired by today’s Daily Rerun, so I hope this will be sufficient for today. There is too much else going on right now. Not bad stuff. Just stuff. Plus, I remember not enjoying this prompt the first time it came around.

MY BIBLE BUMP – THE CYST ON MY WRIST, REDUX

I’ve got a bible cyst (also known as a bible bump) on my left wrist. No kidding. It’s not quite as funny as it sounds.

It has been a nuisance for a while. Since the last round of life and death heart surgery, it has moved down the priority list from a serious problem to a minor aggravation. Everything is relative.

It’s been on my wrist for years. It’s annoying. It came and went (typical behavior for cysts) and has made it impossible to wear a watch. Hardly a medical emergency.

This is a ganglion cyst on the inner right wri...

One day, about two years ago, it blew up. Got huge. Too much typing? It hurt when I moved the wrist.

I talked to the doctor about it. He thought I should address the cyst and the arthritis in my hands at the same time.

Before that happened, the cyst deflated — and my heart blew up. It’s two years later. A lot of heart surgery, but I’ve still got the cyst, which still comes and goes. Sometimes it hurts, other times it itches. I live with it. I have bigger things on my plate.

What makes it a Bible Cyst? 

Ganglion cysts, typically located on wrists (though sometimes on knees, fingers or toes) are known as “bible cysts,” alternatively as  “Gideon’s disease.”

Why? Glad you asked. In the good old days, the treatment for ganglion cysts was to give them a hard whack with a heavy book, breaking the cyst and draining it. Since the bible was usually the heaviest book in the house (often the only book), though I’ve heard a full-size dictionary, Oxford or Webster, will do the job just fine. You see the connection, right?

Somehow, getting whacked on the cyst with a heavy book seems a solution I’d rather skip.

Ironically, the old “whack the cyst with the bible” apparently works every bit as well as any modern surgery. Better. Cysts thus whacked rarely return. I suspect the whackee would never tell anyone if it did recur. One bible whacking is probably enough for any wrist.

It gives a new meaning to the expression “bible thumper”!

A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – WIDE ANGLE

A Photo a Week Challenge: WIDE ANGLE

In this post, we feature pictures taken with my widest angle lens.

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As it happens, my widest angle lens is 24 mm, which is the focal length at which these pictures were taken.

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They have all been cropped slightly. All of them needed leveling, you see. I tend to drop my right hand when shooting.

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Some newer cameras — my Q7, for example — have levels in the viewfinder. It’s a big help to those of us who don’t realize they are shooting tilted.

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I use a wide-angle most often, for landscapes. Otherwise, I use it instead of a macro lens because I don’t actually have a macro lens. Yet. Most wide-angle lenses will shoot pretty close.

NANCY MERRILL’S PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – ART EFFECTS

A Photo a Week Challenge: Artsy

I was delighted to see this challenge … until I realized that I often — okay, usually — don’t remember how I made a picture look “that way.” I wing it because, in Photoshop, I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time.

BW plastic oil bottle

I’ve never studied Photoshop. Never taken a course, or been tutored. I’ve doped out how to do the things with occasional kindly tips from other photographers. I know how to do the things I need to do often. And I’ve worked my way through a lot of years and many iterations of Adobe’s software.

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I can crop, sharpen, re-balance color. Now, thanks to Bob Mielke, I can adjust specific areas of a picture, zeroing in on a particular section I want to fix.

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It is a bit haphazard, I admit. The negative side is reproducing results sometimes impossible. The good news is I discover all kinds of nifty stuff. It’s a new set of toys every day!

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I’ve been messing around with art effects for a long time, even before I had Photoshop. Back when I used Corel (because Photoshop was out of my price range), it had good effects. I did a lot of experimenting. I called the results “artographs” because they have photographic roots, but are no longer true photographs.

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Personal taste is the overriding consideration in this sort of thing. I like painterly effects, poster effects, solarization. I like outlining, turning things into “drawings,” and toy camera effects. For me, art effects are playtime. I hope you like some of them too.

IN-CAMERA DIGITAL ART EFFECTS

These days, pretty much every camera you can buy has art effects built in. Surprisingly, some of them are remarkably good. Better than you will get using Photoshop. If you haven’t tried them, give it a shot or three. I had never used them until I recently tried them by accident. I liked the results very much.  The first two pictures in this post were done using the Art Effects Bracket on an Olympus PEN PL-5.

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

DEAD CENTER

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There are plenty of reasons to shoot subjects centered in the frame. Many of them have fur or feathers.

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When you subject is going to fly or run away, you take your shot, however you can grab it.

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Press the shutter the instant your subject’s in focus, sometimes before you are sure you’re in focus … and hope for the best.

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Wildlife — in the wild as opposed to at a zoo or otherwise enclosed — doesn’t wait while you line up your shot. I know from painful experience — speed counts. Until I got over my need for perfection, I missed pretty much everything.

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Seize the moment! He who hesitates gets a great picture of an empty branch.

A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE: WHITE

A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE: WHITE

In many cultures, colors carry significant meanings. In the United States, black is for mourning, pink is for young girls, blue is for boys, and white is for weddings. Though many brides will choose their “colors” for the bridesmaids, flowers, and decorations, white is traditionally reserved for the bride. It represents purity. What does white mean in your culture?


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Up here in New England, when I think “white,” I think “snow.” I think winter. I think little balls of ice melting between my toes, huge humps of snow in which cars are concealed.

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Slipping and sliding around, trying to find footing. Storms that knock out the power and keep me inside for weeks at a time.

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That’s the way it is, here, usually. From sometime in November or December through March, the world is white and we wait for spring.

Red on White

LIVING IN SILENCE

A while ago, I had the flu and my ears were blocked. One day, Garry removed his hearing aids and kept turning up the television until we could both hear it. 

“That,” he said, “Is my world. That’s how much I can hear.”

I have never forgotten. Which is good because it’s all too easy to forget when it’s not your problem.


Many people don’t consider hearing loss a “real” disability. Is it because it’s invisible? I can’t walk much, can’t lift, ride a horse or bend. I am usually in some kind of pain ranging from “barely noticeable” to “wow that hurts.” None of which are visible to a naked eye. I once had a woman in the post office lash into me because I had a handicapped pass and she didn’t think I looked handicapped. Years later, I’m still angry. How dare she set herself up to judge?

People make assumptions all the time about Garry. They assume if they call to him and he doesn’t answer, he’s a snob. Rude. Ignoring them. If I’m with him I take them aside, explain Garry cannot hear them.

“You need to make sure he sees you and knows you are talking to him,” I tell them. I consider it part of my job as his wife. It’s rough being deaf in a hearing world. Parties are the worst. With so many people talking at once , it is impossible for him to hear one voice.

Mostly I can hear. Most things. Not as well as I did when I was younger. Background noise is more intrusive and annoying than before, but I hear well enough for most purposes. I depend on my hearing to catch nuances, to interpret underlying meanings of what people say.

Garry used to be able — with hearing aids — to do that too. It was important in courtrooms, while interviewing people and of course, in relationships. It’s not only what someone says, but how he or she says it. Body language, facial expressions … it’s all part of the communications package. But his hearing is worse now and much of this ability to catch the subtler part of speech has been lost.

The silence of the woods after a heavy snow

The profound silence of the woods after a heavy snow

When the hearing part goes, other senses have to compensate — but nothing quite fills the gap.

I am forever asking Garry if he heard “it.” Sometimes “it” is me. He often behaves as if he heard me though he didn’t — but he thinks he did. Sometimes, he didn’t hear exactly what I said. Or notice I was speaking at all. It takes him a while to process sound, to put words in order and make them mean something. It isn’t instant, the way it is for someone with normal hearing. He has to pause and wait for his brain to catch up. Sometimes, he puts the puzzle together wrong because he heard only pieces and what he missed was important.

There’s also the “what?” factor. How many times can anyone say “excuse me, can you repeat that” before he/she feels like an idiot?

Human speech is not the whole story. There is music, soft and loud. The funny noise coming from the car’s engine, the scratching of a dog locked in the closet. Birds singing. A cry for help from a distance.

Garry can’t hear any of that. He could, years ago. So he misses it. He doesn’t hear the beep of a truck backing up. Or the sound of the water in our pipes which means someone’s using the shower. The little grinding noise of a hard drive going bad. Or an alarm ringing. The hum of the refrigerator.

All the little noises are lost to Garry.

What does silence sound like? When you hear only the very loudest noises, but none of the soft, little sounds? The explosion, but not a murmur? To be in that silence — always — is a different world.

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* Answer: Three.You can ask someone to repeat something 3 times. After that you are too embarrassed to try again. This is true for everyone, not just people with hearing problems. We all encounter accents we don’t get, mumblers, and people who speak too fast or too softly.