Tuesday, December 31, 2013


This image made the cut, not because it is a fairly nice photo, rather it was done with my then very new--say a week or so--cell phone.

I hopped on my bicycle one morning in Florida this past Spring and was doing a turn around in a botanical garden just a few miles north of our winter digs.  Turns out they were celebrating a showing of this marvelous glass artist and I saw this scene with only the cell phone camera available.

Rather than having my preferred camera (a Canon DSLR) with nearly infinite manual controls, I was stuck with this point-and-shoot variety. *Gasp*  Imagine my surprise when I discovered it had made this delightful image.

That same botanical garden offered a couple of evening shows so I went back, armed with my preferred equipment and did this image.  I planned for this shoot to happen when there was a wee bit of daylight remaining in the sky.  One of the beauties of digital technology is the ability to preview the images; especially in a case like this with brightly lighted highlights and colorful reflections with that dab of evening sky boosting detail in the background tree canopy. 

The other helpful factor with many digital cameras is image stabilization.  Imagine your camera attached to a gyroscope to keep it steady when using slow shutter speeds.  Digital cameras achieve that electronically and I was able to achieve this shot hand-held.

This shot made the list of favorites because it induces nice memories.  At my prodding Sue is clowning around a bit as she holds a geocache we had just found in her right hand and frames traffic on I-77 far below her left arm.  The other component of my nice memory is this was done on our way to another winter basking in Florida's sunshine and, she is standing on the Appalachian Trail where it crosses I-77 in Virginia, 3,000 feet above sea level.  Florida snow birding coming up, all the while enjoying geocaching, photography, the AT and my lady all in the same pic;  Yup, a favorite indeed.


These two pictures (immediately above and below) were taken at the Easter Sunrise service on the shore of Vero Beach.  I liked the spontaneity of the foreground couple waving their praise to the Lord as a rising sun teased the morning sky.  Immediately before this shot I had made another with their heads and shoulders simply framing the cross in the background.  Their being caught-up in the joyous celebration and beginning to wave made a dramatic compositional improvement.

Moments later a seaside baptism (below) presented itself just as the rising sun overcame the distant cloud bank.  In both cases these were fleeting images and would have been entirely different with any delay in making the exposures.


This is a technically nice image inside Kentucky's Mammoth Cave.  This picture was done automatically with the flash disabled.  Cave pictures like this, or any night view colorfully lit, almost always will be more interesting without firing the flash.
Stabilize the camera and gently press the shutter with the camera on automatic and you may be amazed at what happens.
This photo (left) doesn't make this presentation on the merits of the photography, but, rather, because it represents a huge milestone in my rapidly advancing years.  My dad never realized his dream of owning a motorcycle and neither had I until this past spring when my bicycling friend Ken Johnson made the leap to owning a two-wheeler--equipped with a throttle.  That was just the nudge I needed.  Thanks Ken!
My rookie season of riding just over 2,000 miles is now behind me and I am looking forward to the next Spring with boundless enthusiasm.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


My furnace, approaching its 30th birthday, still keeps the house warm but its analog thermostat was getting tired.  While it worked fine at comfortable temperature selections, it would not maintain a lowered, maintenance-level temperature due, I suspect, to its aging, spring-loaded, internal design.

So, with a mind toward preemptive maintenance I opted to replace it with a modern, digital model from the well known Honeywell corporation.

When I selected 70 for my heating season comfort with the old one, made by Coleman, the furnace would run, then shut off at 70.  Perfectly.

Selecting 70 with this modern, Honeywell, digital gadget runs my house temperature to 73 degrees before the furnace shuts off--verified by the same, three, random interior thermometers used to monitor the Coleman's performance.

Sadly, Honeywell, appears to have joined the ranks of firms producing sloppy products and proving, once again, my hypothesis that today's standard of excellence is mediocrity.

*            *            *

Then, I was filling out my post office, change of address form for this winter's prolonged visit to sunny Florida when I noticed the form invited me to do this task online with their USPS.com web site.

So I said to myself, "Why not."

I rattled my keyboard and punched in all the necessary data; temporary change, addresses old and new, dates, etc., and hit "continue".

Their site then said they would be charging me $1.00 on my credit card to verify my identity...

...and $29.95 to process my application.


If you do this the old fashioned way and mail your change of address card, "postage free" by the way, this service is free.

Appears to be a perfect example of another hypothesis of mine; namely, not all progress goes forward.. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

as celebrated on the Bellville village
green, December 2012

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Jack Frost stopped by one recent night and decorated my window pane.  The woods were shivering in polar chill; the kind that makes snow crunch underfoot.  I could imagine Jack smiling as he went about his winter creativity with aplomb.

Made me thankful I was pondering his transparent pallet from the inside...

...and a prolonged, Florida visit was just around the corner.

Friday, December 13, 2013

and a little detective work

A lazy winter sun manages to push shadows across the pond's snow covered surface, partially obscuring two sets of nocturnal critter tracks in its fresh dusting of chilly powder.

(That's chilly powder, not chili powder, of course.)

With the Winter Solstice approaching, the noon-day sun--pestering the zenith in summer time--now arcs a much flatter course through the southern sky splashing these tree, and even weed, shadows across the frigid waterscape.

At that opposite solstice the sun's orbit would be so lofty these shadows would not even exist at this same time of day.

I very craftily determined the tracks were those of a nocturnal animal.

Amazing, detective-like prowess don't you think?

I managed that astonishing investigative discovery when I noticed the tracks existed with dawn's first light.

I even managed to conclude the tracks are from different species of animals.

Notice the pattern of "four" in the closer sample while those in the background appear to be aligned in a single file.

Maybe I missed my life's calling.

Then, again, more likely not.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


In many recent years local FM radio stations would broadcast Christmas music; often beginning at Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas night.

This year, mostly nothing of the sort, with one notable, local exception and that is Shelby's 100.1 FM who, alone, is continuing that delightful tradition.  Kudos to them!

To the rest of you, Bah Humbug!  You have turned into a bunch of pasteurized/homogenized, sound-alike sources of noise--often barely rising above what discerning adults would consider pollution of the air waves.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


A Christmas card arrived today--from Cleveland. 

"Hummm," I wondered who that could be as I meandered back from my rural mailbox.

Turns out it was from my neighbors John and Sondra Mays.

Picture this:

The Mays often put their little red flag up to have the mailman stop and pick up their outgoing mail.

With the post office's new distribution alignment, mail originating around here now by-passes the Mansfield post office and is hauled about 75 miles to Cleveland where, I guess, it is sorted and distributed toward its destination.

I suspect it may ricochet through Mansfield on its way back to Bellville where postal folks sort it for distribution to their various local mail routes and it is delivered to my rural mailbox...

...about 2 feet from the May's mail box.

Doesn't that just make you tingle all over?