Where’s the hare?

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.


No Pets Allowed

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.

Sunrise in the Sandias

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

A little color

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.

The ties that bind

Today’s Developing Your Eye assignment was “Connect”.  I solicited some ideas from my wife and as soon as she said “railroad” I knew where to go for the photo and what to say about it.  Or so I thought.  Here’s the traditional view of a railroad track, and just looking at it you know it’s connecting you to some place beyond the horizon.  But continue reading below the picture for the thought that I had while taking the picture.


Move your eyes away from the vanishing point and look at the very near foreground.  What do you see?  Ties that bind.  Railroad tracks don’t work without these devices that not only form the foundation for the tracks, but also hold the rails a strict distance apart (1.435m in the U.S.).  It’s worth noting that the ties keep them from getting too far apart, but also keep them from getting too close.  That may be a good metaphor for life’s relationships.  What do you think?

I come to the garden alone…

… while the dew is still on the roses.

Some of you may not remember the old gospel song I just tried to remind you of.  Today’s Developing Your Eye photo assignment was “Bliss”.  I hate to be trite and predictable, but there’s just nothing that substitutes for some quiet time in a lovely garden at the cool of the day, either first thing or as the sun is setting.  (Did you know that the French word for “setting” as in “setting of the sun” is the same word as they use for “going to sleep”?  What a lovely image!)  What makes this garden really nice is that it’s my wife’s doing.  She’s the designer and “we have a guy” to do the heavy lifting.  I just get to enjoy it.


Looking out over my back yard garden.

New Career: Travel Writer-Photographer

Have you ever changed careers in a way that you had no idea what you were getting into?  If so, maybe you can help me here.  If you’re thinking about it, maybe the tracks of a fellow explorer might be interesting to you.

Since 1968, I have been a practicing engineer; first electrical engineering and then, before there was a name for us, software engineer.  In 2013 my wife and I decided it was time to spend more time traveling, and my long-latent love of photography awoke.  We decided it would be fun to use modern blogging technology to kill a handful of birds with one stone, so we blogged our first big trip to France, a four-week stay in Paris.  One purpose was to keep our friends and family up to date on our activities.  Another was to keep a journal of our trip in a way that captured our experiences as they happened in both written and photographic form, rather than having to make a physical scrapbook after we returned home and all the memories were already fading.  On top of that we would end up with a book that we could only use at home.  So we blogged.  I say “we” because I did the photo selection, editing, and writing, and Anita did final editing.  We have been surprised and pleased by the comments we have received, and with the level of readership of the blogs of our annual trips to France.RueTatin_Garden

Now our next trip is coming up in a few months, and thinking about its associated blog, I have begun noticing that I may be missing out on a new and rewarding opportunity — professional photographer-writer.  So if you’re reading this, you’re present at the birth of a new member of the growing corps of people who have gone public with their new adventures.  My engineering career is still going strong (after 49 years, I still feel the thrill of success when something starts working), and I won’t give it up until and unless it gets crowded out of my schedule by this one.  I’ll let you know.  Wish me luck.

This blog post is Day One of a WordPress class on blogging.  As with my photography, I’m a big believer in learning from those who have been down this path before.  What follows this one will be guided for a few weeks by the ideas recommended by WordPress courses on photography and blogging, and then I’m on my own.  Wish me luck