THE ORANGENESS OF BEGONIAS

It has been a relentlessly rainy summer. Which was fine, since we’ve been in drought or near-drought for many years. The rivers are full and presumably, so is our well. A lot of days have been gray and many of them have been rainy. Not drizzly summer rain, but drenching rain that turned our yard into mud and made the dogs reluctant to go out. They don’t mind weather, generally, but heavy rain? No thanks. But being dogs, outside is part of their life and out they go.

There are more mosquitoes than I’ve ever seen — and that includes multiple professional spraying to make them go away. I can’t even imagine how bad it would be had we not done that.

And everything has been growing faster than I’ve ever seen plants grow in this region. Nothing bloomed in May. Nothing bloomed for the first half of June. Then, mid-June, the floral world exploded, including the two bedraggled orange begonia I bought a month and a half ago.

It turns out, photographing brilliant orange flowers is a lot harder than I expected. I took a bunch of them a few days ago. No matter what I did with them, I didn’t like them. Too bright, lacking details. Always seemed burned out.

Today, I looked outside and I saw that it was cloudy … and being mid afternoon, the sun had already moved around to the front of the house. A new opportunity to see if a grayer sky would make better pictures. The answer is yes. I’m still not entirely happy with them, but several lenses later, these are noticeably better than the earlier ones.

My two bedraggled begonias have done well.

Flower of the day – Begonia

DOOMED TO DIE

With the EPA down for the count and hunting of wolves and bears back on the table, it’s hard not to despair about the survival of those two species. The horror of what we do to our beasts makes me ill. All evidence to the contrary, I hope we will come to our senses and save our wild creatures but I have serious doubts that anything larger than a squirrel will survive in the wild. Not here or anywhere.

I believe that pretty much all Earth’s large animals are doomed in their natural habitats. Some  will be gone soon. The remaining species will succumb eventually. Tigers, wolves, lions, jaguars — all the big cats — as well as other large land animals, like elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, apes and most monkeys and many more will no longer have a home on this planet.

There will be no wild places.

Humans will, for a while, maintain controlled populations of various species in zoos and special habitats, as if that could make up for their disappearance. As if warehousing is the same as having a wild kingdom. Want to know why? Really? It isn’t the long complicated explanation you will get from environmentalists or public talking heads. Let’s skip past statistical analyses.

It’s simpler than that.

The animals will disappear because they are in our way. Animals don’t fit with human civilization. They are untidy. They eat cattle, goats, chickens, sheep. They trample fields, demolish gardens. Take up space that could be more profitably used for shopping malls and suburban subdivisions. They are more valuable dead than alive.


Predators and large animals are inconvenient.


When humans finds something — anything — inconvenient, we eliminate it. Kill it. Demolish it. Whether it’s a species, a river, or a mountain. If it’s in our way, we make it disappear.

There’s a moral to the story. We should all take care because someday soon, we might eliminate ourselves.

Bye bye.

WAITING FOR SPRING

Yesterday was bright, but today, it’s back to rain and just a bit of sleet. Mostly icy drizzle. The woods are full of fog. Easy enough to photograph, but hard to process without losing the fog or the mood the fog creates, other worldly. Meanwhile, I’m lost trying to find the head of that bird. I know it’s there, but it appears exactly the same color as the tree.

THE CHANGING SEASONS – AN UNUSUAL JANUARY

The Changing Seasons: January 2017


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It’s a new year. The last one zipped by in hyperdrive. A year ago today, we had just returned from Arizona. This year,  no such luck … but it has been a surprisingly warm month. Just one snow of any measurable amount. Other few little snows have not rated being shoveled, much less plowed.180-sunset-aldrich-st-210117_03

I really wanted to do just one picture this time, but the variability of the weather has made that difficult. We have been alternating springlike warm weather with deep winter cold and snow, often in as short an interval as 12 hours.

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«The Changing Seasons 2017» is a blogging challenge with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the newer version (V2) where you can be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month.

Anyone with a blog can join this challenge and it’ll run throughout 2017. It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcomed.

These are the rules (want the full introduction? Click Here), but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking.


The great Cardinal Guzman sponsors this challenge and it is my favorite. He is a wonderfully gifted and imaginative photographer. Whether or not you decide to participate, please visit and look at his amazing photography. You’ll be glad you did!

The Changing Seasons is a Monthly Photo Challenge started by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com.

The Changing Seasons is a Monthly Photo Challenge started by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com.

INCONVENIENTLY DOOMED TO DIE

Siberian Tiger Français : Tigre de sibérie Ita...

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I continue to hope that we will come to our senses and save our wild creatures. That being said, I have serious doubts that anything larger than a squirrel will survive in the wild.

I believe that all Earth’s large animals are doomed in their native habitats. Some  will be gone soon. We will see the last of them in our lifetime.  The remaining species will succumb eventually. Tigers, wolves, lions, jaguars — all the big cats — as well as other large land animals, like elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, apes and most monkeys and many more will no longer have a home on this planet.

There will be no wild places.

Humans will, for a while, maintain controlled populations of various species in zoos and special habitats, as if that could make up for their disappearance. As if warehousing is the same as having a wild kingdom. We’ll see the end of tigers and elephants in less than a decade. It’s possible the rhinoceroses are already gone. If wolves are removed from endangered species status, they will be hunted to extinction in no time flat.

elephants-in-the-serengeti

Want to know why? Really? It isn’t the long complicated explanation you will get from environmentalists or public talking heads. Let’s skip past statistical analyses and the convoluted nonsense spouted by government officials and corporate stooges.

It’s simpler than that.

The animals will disappear because they are in our way. Animals don’t fit with human civilization. They are untidy. They eat cattle, goats, chickens, sheep. They trample fields, demolish gardens. They take up space that could be more profitably used for shopping malls and suburban subdivisions. They are more valuable dead than alive — and ever so much fun to kill.


Predators and large animals are inconvenient.


When humans finds something — anything — inconvenient, we eliminate it. Kill it. Demolish it. Whether it’s a species, a river, or a mountain. If it’s in our way, we make it disappear.

There’s a moral to the story. We should all take care because we can be eliminated too. If we don’t watch our step, we will eliminate ourselves.

Lions and tigers and bears? Bye bye.

P.S. If you think I’m exaggerating, please check out the Durell Wildlife Foundation, which is one of many organizations desperately trying to save what is left of our wild creatures. Durrell is my favorite, probably because Gerald Durrell who founded it was the writer whose work first got me interested in wildlife and saving it.

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR … ALMOST …

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: It’s Not This Time of Year Without …


It’s can’t be almost winter without hysterical predictions of apocalyptic weather on the nightly news. As a rule, these predictions amount to either nothing or at most, a dusting. The ones they do not predict, when they say one to three inches, watch out. Because a blizzard is about to bury you to your chin …

Welcome to “that time of year” in New England!

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I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

WHY I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY

I got my first camera when I was 22. I’m not counting the Brownie camera I inherited from someone when I was a kid. It had a lens that I think was made from the bottom of coke bottle, but was not as sharp. My father took a lot of pictures, all of them awful. My mother painted, but I never saw her pick up a camera. In those days, cameras were either very expensive or junk. Typical, middle class families didn’t usually have “real” cameras, but everyone had a Brownie box camera. The quality of which might be okay or horrible, depending on luck of the draw.

96-Me Young in MaineI had a friend who was a photographer. He even went to a real photography school. I got interested in pictures. Started looking at books of photography. I learned how to process film (though I never learned to like the chemicals) and make prints in a dark room. As I was about to leave on my first vacation to Martha’s Vineyard — before it was “the hot” destination it later became — my friend gave me a camera.

By Dnalor 01 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 at, Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42486209

By Dnalor 01 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 at photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/

It was an old Praktica with an f2.8 Zeiss lens. No automatic anything. Manual film loading. No light meter. There were three settings: film speed (now ISO), shutter speed, and f-stop. Since the lens was a fixed focal length, telephoto meant running forward for a closeup, and back the other way for a wide-angle view. Agility and speed counted, especially because focusing was manual too.

That trip to Martha’s Vineyard with that first of many 35mm cameras was the beginning of everything. You can read more about it on ALFRED EISENSTADT AND ME.

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I’m amazed my pictures came out at all. But they did. Not only did they come out, they came out amazingly well. From that point on, I was hooked. Throughout the 48 years since then, I’ve stayed hooked on photography. I have a decent eye for casual portraits and landscapes. I’m getting better at other things and modern equipment makes experimenting with various types of pictures easy. Which is good because running back and forth would not work for me these days.

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Even relatively cheap modern cameras have more technology packed in them then the most expensive cameras had “back in the day.” The only thing that has not changed and cannot change (because there are physical laws that apply) are optics. Lenses. Glass. There are properties attached to a lens that are immutable. Optics are. You can’t negotiate them. They are a physical fact.

No camera, no matter how advanced, will ever be better than the lens through which you take the picture. That’s why your phone is not as good as a real camera with a good lens.

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It doesn’t have anything to do with software or any of the bells and whistles modern photographic technology tries to sell you. Bottom line, it’s all about the lens. If you have a good eye and a sharp lens, you’re in business.

I work at photography, but mostly, I play at it. It’s fun. I know many photographers who are better than me. Some of them are not merely a little bit better, but a lot better. I am awestruck by the work they do. Most of them have far better technical skills than me and frequently, better equipment than I can ever hope to afford.

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But I really love taking pictures. Photography has been my hobby my entire adult life. It has saved my sanity when everything else in my life was going horribly wrong.

Of all the hobbies I can think of, it’s the only one for which you will never grow too old. It never gets boring. You can take it with you wherever you go. These days, you can share your pictures with the entire world online. It gives you a reason to get out of the house when you ordinarily wouldn’t bother. It’s a way to be creative without needing a special room or expensive equipment. Because even if all you have is a cell phone, you can always take pictures. A good eye can overcome mediocre technology … and no amount of great equipment or software can make up for a poor eye.

So grab your camera. Go forth and take pictures!