SUMMER FROM THE DECK THROUGH A LONGER LENS

I have wanted to get a long lens for my Olympus cameras for quite a while. I have had the Olympus f4 40-140mm lens for years. I got it as part of a kit, but never enjoyed it. I don’t know why I don’t like it, but I don’t. The pictures come out well enough, but it’s not fun to use.

fuchsia june 2015

Finally, I gave in and bought the Panasonic 45-150 mm. Like the Olympus lens, it is slow (f4) which makes it useful only outdoors. But it is smoother, focuses more crisply, and has — to my eyes — a more attractive bokeh.

Here is early summer from the deck. Through the long lens, on a bright June afternoon.

THE SUMMER WIND

Songs that came blowing in, Rich Paschall

The old clock on the wall and the calendar on my desk inform me that it is time for another of my personal top ten lists.  Last year at this time we brought you the top Songs of Summer as given by the musical genius, Brian Wilson.  Those may have been songs that evoked thoughts of summer for Brian, but some were a real stretch of the imagination to me.  I promise you songs that are actually about summer.

Summertime by George Gershwin is one of the most covered songs of all time.  Versions from Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin are certainly well-remembered and regarded.  It was written by Gershwin for the 1935 “modern-day” opera, Porgy and Bess.  Rock stars and opera stars alike have recorded the song.  You have certainly heard it and there is likely to be a version you remember fondly.

When The Beach Boys put out a new album for their 50th anniversary, they served up a perfect piece of nostalgia with “Summer’s Gone.”  The song was written by Brian Wilson and he took the lead on the record and in performance.  Unfortunately, they did not do it throughout the anniversary tour and there is only one fan video from the last stop that I can find.  Therefore, this tribute through old and new pictures will have to do:

This leads us to the countdown:

10. Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer, Nat King Cole, 1963.  If I heard it once, I heard it a million times (as the saying goes) as I grew up.  I guess we must have really liked this one.  Cole was still alive then and would turn up on variety shows and perform this.  Unfortunately, variety shows have gone away.
9.  A Summer Song, Chad and Jeremy, 1964
8.  Summer Nights, from the play and movie, Grease.  It was the word for John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.  If you can look past all the people who killed this song in karaoke, it may still be a favorite.
7.  In the Summertime, Mungo Jerry, 1970  The song filled with odd sounds and rhythms was a mega-hit for the British group.
6.  Hot Fun In The Summertime, Sly and the Family Stone  This one was at the top of the Brian Wilson list.

5.  Surfer Girl, The Beach Boys  The early Beach Boys hit remained a fan favorite over the years.  Almost 50 years after recording it, they could still perform the harmonies with ease.  If not with ease, then with a lot of coaching by Brian:

4.  Summer Rain, Johnny Rivers, 1968  It didn’t make it to the top of the charts, but it is one of those songs that keeps getting played.  Now in his 70s, Rivers is still performing his many hits.

3.  Summer Wind, Frank Sinatra, 1966  Wayne Newton first recorded the song in 1965, but it is Sinatra who had a hit the following year.

2.  Summer Breeze, Seals & Crofts, 1972  Written and performed by Jim Seals and Dash Crofts.

1.  Summer in the City, The Lovin’ Spoonful, 1966  Released in July 1966, by August it was number 1.  The overplayed summer anthem included a car horn and jack hammer sounds to let you know you were in the city.

What are your summer favorites?

 

SUNFLOWER!

A Photo a Week Challenge: Brighten Up Your Day

Nancy thought we needed some brightness in our lives. After the horrific past 7 weeks where an entire four months of winter was compressed into less than two months, I totally agree.

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The sunflower is pretty much the way it came out of the camera. It was shot on a very bright day with a very good lens, very close. I sharpened it, cropped it a bit, but this is what it looked like. Amazing flower, isn’t it? As if it has sunshine inside, trying to escape!

BOUQUET FLOWER LIVING ROOM SEPTEMBER

The calendar warns the end of summer is near, but so far, summer clings to the leaves. The sky is bright blue. Usually I’m eager for fall, eager for the crisp weather and the foliage.

And the photo opportunities. New England’s autumn is the most photogenic season imaginable. Unless we are hit by tropical storms and heavy rain, it is also the most pleasant.

picture window living room September summer

This entire summer has been delightful. Almost like early autumn and for the whole summer. July and August have had little rain, lots of bright sunny days and clear skies with warm, rather than hot, temperature. You couldn’t ask for better. So I vote for keeping it. As long as summer wants to hang around, my welcome mat is out!

bouquet living room flowers september summer

Denial only goes so far. I took a few pictures of the trees in the woods … and a bright patch of yellow caught my eye.

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Earlier, when we were out in the car, I noticed the edges of the maple leaves are beginning to turn a bit rusty. It’s still warm and sunny. Even a bit humid. Regardless, change is coming. Seasons are non-negotiable.

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SEPTEMBER INSIDE AND OUT

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“When the corn is high.” It has a ring to it. Having corn fields in the neighborhood definitely improves property values and gives us the opportunity for the ultimate summer treat — fresh corn on the cob.

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This one windmill probably produces enough electricity to power the farm all year round.

RIPENING CORN WITH WINDMILL – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Horse and carriage

Real carriage. Fake horse.  It’s a small lane in the middle of the old Gettysburg.

This is one of the many things I love about tourist towns. I know people get all snobby about “tourist traps,” but towns set up for the tourists, while heavily commercial, also have plenty of places to eat, lots of motels, and activities for everyone. Best of all, they are always glad to see you.

Tunnel-Lane-Gettysburg

That’s no small matter, especially if you have been harassed in less hospitable destinations. No matter what your color or nationality, your money is good in a tourist town. It’s also an easy venue for people who have disabilities and special needs. These towns are ready to cater to your unique requirements.

Blue and gray souvenirs

There’s always a reason a town becomes a tourist mecca. It holds attractions or is very near them. Nice beaches. Historic sites. Skiing. Roller coasters. Gambling. Fabulous food.Terrific views. Wonderful weather. Amazing shopping.

Gettysburg faux horse

A town doesn’t draw crowds without a reason.

The down sides to popular destinations are obvious. Higher prices, crowds and traffic. If you want to travel  where everyone else also wants to go, try to find schedule it off-season. Even a few days before or after peak can make a huge difference in the size of the crowds and the price of accommodations.

Ghoul Soldier

 

But check it out. Some places close down right after Labor Day, or have nothing open except during peak periods. Beach towns are particularly likely to be locked up tight by early September.

main street Gettysburg

Martha’s Vineyard, for example, bustles with life on Labor Day. The next day, more than half the restaurants and shops are closed. A few stay open longer or are open year round — but that may not be what interests you.

Just make sure the stuff you really want to do and see is available before you book a bargain vacation.

Gettysburg buggy

GETTYSBURG

SUMMER LIES HEAVY IN THE DEEP GREEN LEAVES

Today the man who sets the prompts in motion, wants me — us — to talk about the end of summer. The start of school, the end of long, warm, sunny days. How I feel about that.

I feel a lot of things, but I’m not going to talk about any of them. Because I don’t want to talk about the end of summer. I’m not ready to talk about it. Not even to start thinking about heating oil and boots, icy roads and frozen woodland.

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I’m stuck happily in summer. I love autumn with its amber sunshine and scarlet maples, but after that? Someone else can fill in the details. I’m not there yet, mentally or physically.

It’s beautiful today. Warm, bright, sunny.

Entirely green. Not a hint of anything but languid late summer. And that’s where I’m going to stay until I get pushed, screaming and kicking, into the next season.

August Blues – Daily Prompt