Today’s assignment in Developing Your Eye II was “Moment – Capture Motion”. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) is widely acknowledged as the father of the concept that all motion is relative to something. One of the traditional symbols of lack of motion is the tortoise or turtle (bonus points if you know the difference). But not an absolute lack of motion, like a rock (okay, all you physicist wannabees out there, I know that the phrase “absolute lack of motion” is problematic–just go with me here, if you don’t mind), but a serious lack of motion relative to something fast, like a rabbit or hare (more bonus points if you know the difference). In fact, we have in western literature a famous story attributed to the Greek storyteller Aesop about a tortoise and a hare and their respective approaches to speed.
So I decided to use the winner of Aesop’s race as an example of motion. It turns out, dear reader, that a young turtle is quite a mover. Here’s Seymour showing his stuff.
Seymour, the racing turtle
I didn’t put a clock on him, but I did have to use the “continuous” mode on my camera, because this little guy can motor! My able assistant was close at hand to keep Seymour from running off the cliff and putting his racing career at serious risk.
Today’s assignment in the Developing Your Eye II series (okay, so I’m a few days late) is “Nature” with the intent of finding what are known as “leading lines”. These are features of the picture that have the effect of leading the viewer’s eye into the heart of the picture. Hiking trails, whose sole purpose is to lead the actual hiker into the heart of the picture, seemed like a natural subject.
Here in Albuquerque, one of the ways we make lists like this one (11th out of 20) is to have ready access to many great hiking and biking trails. For instance, today I headed east (toward the mountains) on Academy Road for about twenty minutes until I ran out of oxygen, then parked and walked a few hundred yards out on the Michael Emery trail. Next time, let’s go together!
Today’s assignment in the Developing Your Eye II series was “Scale”. The general idea is to use known elements of the image to give the viewer an idea of the scale of another element. The description gave an example which you can see here. I decided to use this opportunity to explain myself to people who don’t understand why I’m not a pet owner.
Take cats, for instance. Yes, they can be cuddly, when it is convenient to them:
But that’s rare. Most of the time their self-absorption isn’t rewarding to you, the so-called “master”. Like occupying your favorite chair when you just want to settle down and read a little French philosophy:
And when you have guests in for dinner, they want to join you, and you don’t want your guests to think you don’t love your cat, so you get this:
So you think you’ll solve these problems by making it an outdoor cat, right? Not so fast. They scare the birds away from your birdbath.
So that’s it. No pets for me, thank you. I know this is the internet, which is supposed to be cat-friendly, but I can’t help that. And this is from someone who has provided food and shelter to: dogs, cats, a snake, rabbits, birds, fish, an iguana, a wife, and two children. I’ve earned this.
Today’s Developing Your Eye II assignment was “Mystery”. I think the planners wanted me to try my hand at some kind of artistic, maybe even abstract, photo that was to evoke a sense of mystery in the mind of the viewer. But as I passed this cemetery, the view trapped my own mind into another thought.
In the distance are the Sandia Mountains, kind of the tail end of the Rockies right here in the Duke City. I think often of the question asked by the early European explorers to North America. “What lies beyond that range of mountains?” “What is on the other side of this great river?” Those are mysteries that are no more.
But the cemetery in the front reminds me of the greatest mystery of them all: what lies beyond the grave? Philosophers have pondered this since time immemorial, but the mystery lives on.
My promise to you is that tomorrow’s blog will be a bit brighter!
For a guy who spent nearly sixty years living in high humidity parts of the U.S., life in the high desert is a daily surprise. One of the side effects of low humidity is a wide swing in the daily low and high temperature–a 30-degree swing is normal. But today was unusual: we went from 59° F to 108° F in the space of about nine hours. So today’s Developing Your Eye II assignment for “Warmth” led me to seek the moment when that daily warmup was just getting started. This being just a couple of days after the summer solstice meant that sunrise would be the earliest of the year (delayed even longer by the cloud blanket beyond the mountains). It would also appear at the northern end of the Sandias; six months from now it’ll be way down at the southern end. Can’t you just feel that early morning chill giving way to a hot summer day?
Sunrise at the north end of the Sandias
It is a tradition in the United States that governments have certain emblems: the state tree, the state song, the state this, the state that. I’ll bet your state doesn’t have “the state question”. New Mexico does. The state question in New Mexico is “Red or Green?”. It is asked every time you order food in a restaurant that serves New Mexico cuisine, which is a variant of Mexican food that is, like any regional cuisine, noticeably different from its neighbors, like Texas’ “Tex Mex”. When you order enchiladas here, you have a choice of red chile sauce or green chile sauce, green chile being a state specialty. So the server simply says “Red or Green?” and you choose one. But you don’t have to be so banal.; “both” is a reasonable choice. As it is in my garden:
Hollyhock just before its summer fade.
Today’s Developing Your Eye topic is “Big”. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I must confess to have skipped over the topic “Solitude”, having covered that adequately in the topic “Bliss”. I hope you’ll forgive me.
There are all sorts of big things, but it’s the surprisingly big things that are the most interesting. Take, for instance, this soccer ball that some oversized Mia Hamm wannabe left on top of my office building.
Soccer ball or radio antenna enclosure? Who knows?