Kites, No Strings

What came first
The kites we control
Or the ones without strings?

After fifteen years of chasing the art of photography impressionistically, I am finding myself just making photographs of “things”.
In 2016 I started investigating serious video production and realized quickly the adventure that it is. Moving images with appropriate sound is a huge task if it is to be done well. Funny, making video was what got me into serious photography back in 2004.
I make these declarations because the artistic journey is a muse who must be treated like a spouse. Pay attention, or you will find yourself lost, and alone.
So now I am looking to just make some nice photos of birds. It was part of the journey some fifteen years ago, but now there is a lot of “stuff” to unpack to get there. I grew to not care for the details. Now, the details are everything.
Yesterday I walked about with an old Nikon 400mm 4.5 with the AU1 focus and my D750. The cover photo was NOT made with it. I wanted to try it out after letting it sit for about a decade (or longer). I made the rookie mistake of forgetting by monopod so everything I made was handheld. The total package is about ten pounds. I had to throw it over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes just to carry it. Making a frame required even more preplanning than usual and a shutter staying at 1/1000 or faster
My thinking was that even if the work was a little shaky, I could at least get an idea of the lens’ capability. When I opened the files, I realized why I stopped using this lens. It has a terrible rendering of strong light. The purple fringing is atrocious. My plan to sell the lens has changed. I cannot in good faith sell this old beast. It is a good lens to manually learn, but the results are so spotty it doesn’t make sense to sell it.
I’ll give it to Goodwill and maybe a newbie will pick it up for $50.
Don’t get me wrong, impressions are not off the menu.

Have a good weekend!

The Ever Rest Syndrome

We live at the bottom of the mountain
Demons in our living rooms
Dining with us
They push our carts at the grocery store

They enter the soul
And blindfold our eyes
So we may watch television
The ultimate brain wash
Cleaning out all those nasty thoughts
With the broom of dissatisfaction

Never enough, 
Of anything
Including self worth
A perverted truth be told
That bleeds
From seductive tongues

So we must prove ourselves
And look to the mountain
For worth and achievement
It mustn’t be the mountain in our village.
No
We must climb the highest peak
To be worthy

Embarking on our quest
We make the journey alone
Oxygen bottles and Sherpas
Lie frozen dead on the trail
And they build our camp
So we can sleep on the ground
And impress ourselves 
With our own bravery

Finally
We reach the pinnacle
After many days of hardship
Alone, we have mastered our own destiny
We view all we have conquered
And feel the rush
Of accomplishment

Surveying our world
The wind singing its notes of approval
We meet eyes with the Sherpas
Their ruddy skin eating the wind for breakfast
They smile and raise their hands in celebration
And fill us in this singular moment

With so much more speed
We find ourselves back home
At the bottom of the mountain
In our living rooms
Changed little
Save for the mountain top selfie
Hanging on the wall

Alone at the top.

Accomplishment is rarely achieved without a support system.
(2) multiple exposure photographs stitched for a wider view

Red Crowned Parrots of San Diego

In the early 90’s I was up on a swing stage with a forensic leak specialist. Not too high, maybe only six stories. We were documenting some sealant failures, performing tests and recording results.
Then came a distant squawk and screech from behind us. it became louder and the sounds resonated off the building glass. “Stan, check this out,” I interrupted, pointing at a flock of about fifty birds. They were thirty yards out and their noise became eerily loud as they passed. Stan shot me a look, “are those parrots?” “Yup, no one is sure how they got here, but there are several large flocks throughout the county,” I exclaimed.
As much as I have tried to discover how these birds got here, apparently, no one is sure. They are indigenous to northwestern Mexico. There is much lore about illegal bird smugglers releasing them to avoid getting caught with evidence. That has never been proven….though there may be some truth to something like that happening. Even if it was something as uneventful as two escaping a home, I’m glad they’re here. I’m not supposed to be glad about it, but they’re here and I like ’em!
They are loud, obnoxious and very entertaining.
This year….just last week, a pair cased our garden. A couple of days ago, they came back, and feasted on our two remaining sunflowers.
In the opening clip of the video we see two species, but only the pair of red crowned returned. They came by three times and finished off the sunflowers.
I was stoked, and got lots of footage.

Clueless

Standing on the bridge
Leaning over the rail
Like an impetuous child
I found the moon

He was resting
At the bottom of the lake

“Moon! Come out of there!”
“Leave me alone. I’m resting.”
“But Moon, it’s cold and dark down there!
 Let me help you out!”

Diving into the cold
Tree whispered
“Did he not say,
 Leave me alone?”

Her branches
Catapulted me
Back
Onto the bridge

I sat dripping
Cold
Poking my head through the railing
I called to moon

“Ok, I get it now
 I’ll leave you alone.
 Moon…..MOON!”
“I hear you!
 Now go away!”

That moon.
So grumpy.

multiple exposures

Stress!

The last two weeks have been very stressful for many reasons.
This morning, I slogged into my office knowing how compressed my day would be. I found that one of those main sources (a deadline) had been pushed out seven days!
I had been a recluse in my office, closing the door to the outside world so I can concentrate.
Then….this reprieve! Woo Hoo!

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HAPPY DANCE!