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 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.
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 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?
… 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.
Today’s photo assignment was to take both landscape and portrait images of something on the theme of “Water”. In the Duke City, we have three major forms of open water.
First is the surprising (to the newcomer) network of concrete arroyos threaded throughout the city. For a city that gets an average rainfall of less than nine inches, seeing so many twenty feet wide, ten feet deep channels is hard to explain. But we get so little rain that our ground is packed solid, and when it does rain the water is not absorbed by the soil. For flood control purposes, we have these channels. Second is the irrigation channels and acequias that provide both flood control and irrigation.
But the “Grande” daddy of them all is the Rio Grande, sometimes called Rio Bravo. In its 1900-mile run from the San Juan mountains in Colorado, it falls some 12,000 feet before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico at Brownsville/Matamoras. On its way, it slices New Mexico in two from top to bottom, passing about two miles from my house.
Here I give you my two pics, one in landscape and one in portrait. I know which one I like the most; if you’d like to voice your preference, there’s a comment field below that actually works.