Sunday, September 17, 2017

***Remember; you can click on photos in the blog and see a much larger image.  This will give you a particularly dramatic view in the panoramic photo of Cleveland stadium below.***

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians today smashed their way into the American League history books with their 21st consecutive win, beating the Detroit Tigers 5-3.

Who knows where this stunning performance will end but, at this rate this year's world series could be an anti-climax.

The Indians tied the American League record of 20 consecutive wins at their home field Tuesday night, September 12th with a 2-0 victory over the Tigers.

I enjoyed Tuesday night's game with a group of folks from my Bellville church; Storyside and hosted by our lead pastor Micah Pelky, second from left below.

That's yours truly on the far left, then Pastor Micah, Jeremy Overholt, son Brian Wolf, Pastor Adam Dinkard, Shane Allyne and Eric Wickham.

The Progressive Field, Tuesday night photo (top) was done from our seats in left field with my cell phone's panorama feature.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


A hungry bird's approach to my feeder this sunny and still morning gave me reason to be thankful to God for the quietude just outside my computer room's window.

The background is the surface of my acre and a half pond.

The photo was done through two panes of window glass with a Canon Rebel digital, single lens, reflex camera and Canon's marvelous 70-200 mm, 1:2.8 L IS USM lens.  The camera was hand-held with my elbows propped on a desktop using a manual exposure of 1/400 sec., F 5.6 at ISO 400.

With the lens focused on the feeder and the window glass very close to the camera, that closeness and the lense's shallow depth of field rendered any imperfections in or on the glass invisible by being completely out of focus.

The shutter speed was short enough to arrest fuzziness from any camera movement but not so short to arrest motion in the bird's wings.  The F 5.6 aperture was slightly underexposed but made a pleasing image under the harsh, back lighting.

I watched the alignment of my composition through the viewfinder with my right eye and winked quickly back and forth to watching the activity surrounding the feeder with my left eye.  That way I could see the bird's flight in time to trip the shutter before it landed at the feeder while maintaining accurate camera alignment.

A tripod would be a wise choice for less experienced photographers under these conditions.

I'm not sure of the identity of the bird but White Breasted Nuthatches, Chickadees (SP) and Tufted Titmice were present in abundance.  The parenthetical SP means it could be either a Black Capped or Carolina Chickadee because we are directly on the line between the ranges of those two birds.  They are hard to tell apart but local birding experts tell me we likely are seeing the Black Capped variety here.

A delightful side effect to this frenzied feeder activity involves momma Wild Turkey and her brood of three, half-grown youngsters showing up multiple times daily to clean up the mess of dropped seeds created by her smaller avian friends.

Life is good!    😊

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

(A recreated copy of our story originally published August 22, 2017--and inadvertently erased)

Some Celestial and Spiritual Majesty

As I grappled with making this image with my cell phone I was longing for a couple of thousand dollars worth of photography equipment that was lounging quietly--at home.  A digital, single lens reflex camera and a fine quality, telephoto lens would have made quite a difference in this image.

That's the eclipse, an upside down moon-shaped sliver dead center in the photo, as close as it got to totality in our area.

Yet, as I fiddled with presenting this image I began to like how the vastness of space was visually enhanced by its overwhelming volume compared to the shadowed sun.

Then, why did the clouds not obscure the event entirely?  Actually they made it possible to take a safe peek at this unfolding miracle.

I also pondered what actually was happening just a few hundred miles south of here where, at totality, the moon appeared to be precisely the same size as the sun and, in precise alignment with it.

Imagine, our sun is about 400 times the size of our moon but the distance between these two bodies was exactly what it needed to be to make the moon appear to be the same size as the sun, the size it needed to be to exactly cover its partner in this celestial dance.

How did that come to be?  Some would say it is a random happenstance.  It just so happened that the ratio of distance and size was precisely what it needed to be to cause totality.  An amazing coincidence they might try to convince themselves.

Others would say it has to be the work of an intelligent designer.

Thank you God.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Do as I say, please

We were geocaching at the fairgrounds in Wellington, OH and had to hike .18 mile along the other side of this parked train; struggling for footing in the steeply sloped ballast.

When we finally got aligned with the cache's location we discovered it was still 150 feet into the woods, evidently only accessible to us by a bruising treck through rugged undergrowth.  I was wearing Bermuda shorts and Sue had only sandals for footwear.

We could see the train's engines and hear their silence sooooo we both scurried under the couplers of two cars and down the opposite bank to an adjacent road then began the long walk back toward our parked car.  That required us to travel to the end of the parked train, walk around it then continue our reversed course in 81 degree heat.

I kept finding a slice of optimism for a sultry Sue by reminding her she was establishing a day's record with her Fitbit that would do most folks proud.

I couldn't hear her response.

Which likely was a good thing.

We also took comfort in the fact our children all were raised far beyond the age where there was little danger they would be foolish enough to mirror our behavior.

Lookin' like it will be a few years yet before we will be content to sit quietly in our rockers, I mused.

If we live that long--I could hear someone stammering.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

At the Warren Rupp Observatory

About 100 people stopped by the observatory at Hidden Hollow Camp on Possum Run Rd., to take a peek at Monday's celestial event with the benefit of some dandy telescopes and informative commentary by members of the local astronomy club.

This likely 12" Dobsonian scope was shielded (light blue cover) with a dark, round viewing filter allowing a reduced quantity of light into the scope for safe viewing.  A constant line of visitors kept the scope busy as the eclipse passed by overhead and a helpful operator kept the scope alligned on the moving sun.

Actually, of course, it is the Earth rotating on its axis that causes the ilusion of the sun's movement.  The sun actually is holding quite still while our solar system prances around it.  On the other hand, given the expansion of the universe a case can be made that anything appearing to hold still, likely isn't.  But, I digress.

Several pin-hole camera type viewing devices also got a good workout as visitors passed them around and marveled at the eclipse images captured in these decidedly low-tech devices this Cheerio's cereal box

The aluminum foil wrapped over a cut-out portion of the box top near the girl's right shoulder has a pin hole in it which allows the sunlight to enter the dark box leaving a small image of the eclipse visible on the inside bottom of the box.

Given the flat angle of the box the little girl was having difficulty finding the eclipse image until a helpful adult arrived on scene.

Sue, meanwhile, took a more convential approach to eclipse viewing by peering through specially filtered glasses (below) which allowed viewers to look directly at the sun.  Without such a filter the eyes could be seriously damaged in an instant of exposure to the intense rays.

Draping one's self over a lawn chair in the ample viewing area available at the site appeared to hold this lady's interest for much of the event.

I applauded her celestial curiosity.

*Warren Rupp Observaotry*  Click on this link and note the public viewing nights on the observatory's calendar.  If you show up there one of those nights members will applaud your curiosity too.

An on-line search using the phrase "Pin Hole Eclipse Box" will return lots of sites that explain how to make your very own one of these.

I began to describe this fabrication process then decided this web suggestion was far easier.  I'm retired after all.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


This story had its beginning in mid-July 2016 when I first attended Storyside Church (then known as CitiChurch) in Bellville with my son Brian and his wife Kate.  By then, they had been very active with this church for about 3 years.

I was overwhelmed by my experience.  That Sunday's service had a spiritual vibrancy like I had never experienced--or, even imagined.  Except for wintering in Florida I have not missed a weekly service since.

Back sometime in my childhood I was baptized and later confirmed in the Lutheran Church.  That was at St. Matthew's in Mansfield.  I like to think those lessons of catechism remained with me for the vast majority of the rest of my life.

Meanwhile I lost interest in organized religion.  I was troubled by the fact many of the world's wars were between organized religions.

I was troubled by evident conflicts between theology and science.

I was repulsed by the stories of aberrant, sexual behavior of some church leadership.

I did find spiritual solace by simply walking in a quiet woods and conversing with God.  He seemed to welcome my periodic visits.

A gentle breeze caressing tall pines can create a tabernacle far more inspirational than a structure of bricks and mortar with uncomfortable seats and a service that leaves folks out of sight of the pastor, well, dozing.

And so it went for 50 years or more.

Then a miracle began to emerge.  I discovered there were lots of books that explored my concerns.  In them I discovered answers that aroused my interest in taking a closer look at the Bible's lessons.  That nudged me into experiencing Storyside church that had captured my son's soul.

That process continued for nearly a year until last Sunday when Pastor Micah's weekly invitation to invite Jesus into my life resonated and God captured my soul.