NATURAL FRAMES AND PERSPECTIVE

FRAME | THE WEEKLY WORDPRESS PHOTO CHALLENGE


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I learned to take pictures by copying other photographers work, especially the landscapes of Martha’s Vineyard by Alfred Eisenstadt.

72-Closeup-Dam-Mumford-MA-082516_006One of the first things I noticed is that he invariably had something in the foreground as well as a strong diagonal leading into the frame.

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And he used natural formations of trees and rocks to frame it.

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I do the same or, at least, try. Probably not quite a well as the master, but I aim high, even if I don’t always hit the target.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

WITNESSING HISTORY

The odds favor that, if you life a full life, you will witness some event that’s historically important. Depending on your definition of “witness,” you’ll inevitably witness a lot of history. You can’t avoid it. Some is more dramatic and makes better stories. Even if your witnessing was accomplished via television and news reports, you are no less a witness.

My favorite “witness” experience was being in Israel when the Camp David Accords were signed. I had only arrived there a few weeks before. I was still trying to figure out what this place was about. It definitely wasn’t the romanticized venue in the novels I’d read … or even the idealized “homeland” my mother always imagined.

It was far more complicated, textured, and nuanced … which should not have been a surprise, yet sort of was surprising.

I bought a car shortly after I arrived. A Ford Escort. Ford had a little factory in Israel and Escorts were Everyman’s car. Small, and by American standards, under-powered, they were a “best buy” on Israel’s new car market.

The Ford dealership was directly across from the King David. And the King David was where Begin, Sadat, and Carter were meeting and deal-making. As fate would have it, it was also the day on which I was supposed to pick up my car. When I got there, it was obvious bigger events were taking place and my car would wait.

There were armed men everywhere. On the streets, the rooftops, and everywhere else you could look and probably thousands of places you couldn’t easily see. No one was getting assassinated on Israel’s watch. At least, not that day.

Around midday, to the enthusiastic cheering of the crowd, the official limousines swung past, each sporting the flags of its nation It was a sight to see.

There was much celebration and joy. It was one of the happiest, most optimistic times in Israel’s short modern history. Hope that finally, there might be a real peace. Hope that somehow, out of all the bloodshed and wars, this was a meaningful step forward.

Not long thereafter, back in Egypt, Sadat would be assassinated. Ten days later, Moshe Dayan who had crafted the accords, would die too. He had been sick with both cancer and heart disease for a long time, but, personally, I think he died of disappointment.

After that,the optimism faded. The joy was damped down and it was business as usual.

I was there for that brief, bright moment. A witness to one great moment when joy exploded in the streets of Jerusalem. No matter what anyone says nowadays about Israel’s intentions in the region, if you were there that day, you could not fail to see the foundation of everyone’s hopes, was peace.

WITNESS | THE DAILY POST

WHICH WAY AT THE RIVER – CEE’S WHICH WAY CHALLENGE

CEE’S WHICH WAY PHOTO CHALLENGE


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And so, with the temperature back in the comfortable range, Garry and I took our cameras and went down to where the Blackstone Canal and river separate.

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This is a favorite place to shoot and I have a lot of pictures taken here. It is always beautiful, no matter what the season, but it is spectacular in the fall. Which is coming. Soon.

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The sun was very bright. I was reminded how difficult it can be to shoot in extremely bright sunshine. Until summer’s over, we need to shoot earlier or later, but not when the sun is directly overhead.

There are a lot of ways in this little park by the dam across the Mumford River

There are a lot of ways in this little park by the dam across the Mumford River

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The park along the Mumford in the middle of town offers some excellent “which way” image options. Two staircases, paths, a river, pond, canal, two dams, and no fewer than three bridges..

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And then, it was time to go home.

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Home again.

Cee which way photo challenge

BLACKSTONE CANAL’S GEARS – CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE


We moved here in 2000. That’s 16 years ago this summer. It was probably the following summer that I really began exploring the valley with my camera … and discovered the canal and its locks.

The spillway where the water divides. The river is to the right and the canal, straight ahead.

Spillway where the river divides. The river goes right, the canal, straight.

The Blackstone Canal was built in the mid 1800s and was used by barges for just about a decade before being replaced by trains. The canal still winds its way along the river. Sometimes, it is the river. Other places, it splits off and runs alongside it. Uxbridge is one of the places where it separates. It’s also one of the places which has locks to raise and lower water levels. Rather like an elevator for boats and barges.

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The gears used to operate the locks at Uxbridge remain. Big, iron, and until recently, maintained in working order. For the past few years, no one has bothered to care for them. Probably a budgetary decision, but it’s a pity. How much did it cost to annually clean and oil the mechanisms? I’m sure it couldn’t be so much money the town can’t sustain the expense.

72-BW-Noir-Gears-Locks-Canal-082216_01Meanwhile, I’m still trying to get good pictures of the gears. These are the best (and most recent) photographs. I’m not entirely happy with them, but they’re the best I’ve done to date.

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Who’d have thought that so many years later, I’d still be hoping to get my first really good shots of the locks? If these don’t qualify as oddballs, I don’t know what does.

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GREEN PROFUSION: THURSDAY’S SPECIAL

August in the valley. The heat is beginning to ease, but the sun is still yellow with an early hint of amber. Everything is in full leaf. I can feel the subtle hints of autumn waiting at the door, but the trees still sing their song of summer

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This is profusion: the richest green, the fullest leaf of tree and plant life. The river is languid. It flows slowly, peacefully. The world is warm and rich.

 Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word

IT’S OBVIOUS … ISN’T IT?

It ought to be obvious. If you deluge potential customers or contributors with email, whether imploring them for donations or reminding them of your products, eventually they will run away. Unsubscribe. Detach.

The first time this happened, I had made the near-fatal error of donating $3 to Obama’s 2008 campaign. From that moment on, each day I was buried in fundraising letters from what appeared to be every single member of the Democratic party and their affiliates.

I approved of the causes and at first, I just deleted the extra emails. It seemed the more I deleted, the more arrived. Wave after wave of causes, the DNC, pols in states I’ve never visited, much less lived.

One day I sat down at my computer and began unsubscribing. I continued through the day until finally, none were left. I will never donate again. Note to DNC: Don’t make contributors feel that giving you a bit of money was their worst-ever life decision.

Now, there’s “The New Yorker.” This is a great magazine, one of the very few I still read. The cartoons alone are worth it because  no publication has better cartoons than “The New Yorker.” I even went so far as to subscribe to it. Not only do I get their online stuff and access to their archive, I get the physical, paper magazine. The mailman delivers it.

Yet, every single day, my email is full of subscription offers from the New Yorker, and now, from affiliated news publications. They send me articles — which I mostly read or at least skim. But then, they send me the same articles three more times. I delete them. Followed by half a dozen reminders to subscribe — which I’ve already done. Why do they do this? I feel like I’m under siege by my own troops.

Amazon, from whom I buy a lot of stuff, doesn’t spam me. Nor does LL Bean. Or Audible or Zappos. To these companies, I remain loyal. They treat me as if they value my business and I spread the good word about them.

All of these companies also have great service when things go wrong. They don’t make it difficult to return items. They don’t charge “re-stocking” fees. They deliver quickly at no charge. They stand behind their products and suppliers and if something goes wrong, the customer does not wind up at the short end of the transaction.

This is basic marketing. It boils down to one golden rule for marketing:


Treat your customer the way you’d like to be treated if
you were the customer. 


I should think this would be obvious. As time goes on, I find myself eliminating companies and organizations from my world because they don’t get it.

Obvious, isn’t it?

OBVIOUS | THE DAILY POST

TREES – CEE’S BLACK AND WHITE CHALLENGE

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Trees


Bi-tonal moon setting at sunrise

Bi-tonal sunrise

The colorful autumn leave as well as delicate shades of green leaves will lose something when translated to black and white. However, the shape and form of trees in black and white is amplified, especially in silhouette against a bright sky.

Date palms with mountains

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amherst stone church shadows BW

Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge