Sunday, October 20, 2013
(You might have to click on it to embiggify it.)
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
I live at just about the mid-point of a north-south one-lane road (called a "two-track") that runs between two east-west secondary roads 70 miles apart. Well, actually I live two miles off to one side of that road and not on it. As we returned from the vet I could see a storm developing to the south, and could watch it move from east to west. There were a few lightning strikes, but not many. At the point I took the snapshot above we were yet about ten miles from home, but we managed to make it before the brunt of the storm hit. In the end it didn't amount to much at our place and all we got was a nice little spate of welcome rain. Most of it was well south of us.
By the way, I noticed the other day that our two track, which is about half paved and half dirt, does not even appear on the official state highway map. That's OK by me.
This is a good time of year for sin-writers. If they are quick enough!
Monday, October 14, 2013
So I go, and watch, and am pleased and energized myself.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I thought it would be a small event, due to its location, but the place was humming with kids of all ages on horseback zipping up and down in the parking area and having a great time. When I say "all ages" I mean it. Kids of three and four on ponies and even some on full size horses, with the stirrups hitched up as high as they could go. And in most cases adult supervision nowhere in sight.
The toughness of these kids always impresses me. They don't quit either. That young wrangler above, about eleven, in the steer rasslin' drew a critter that outweighed him by at least 150 pounds and could drag him anywhere it wanted to without breaking a sweat. But the kid hung on, never gave up, and eventually got it down by some unaccountable miracle. The thing is he never quit. "Aw, this is too HARD!" Nope. Even though his time was way, way out of the running he hung in and got it done.
And they were just about all like that, in all the events, boys and girls alike. Had me thinking we'd be better than just fine as a country if all our kids were like this. But they aren't, and there just isn't enough of them to go around. And that's a pity.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Reality in photography is mostly subjective. When someone views a photograph they make their own reality, as the photograph itself has none.
It is often said that “the camera never lies.” Actually, a camera can do nothing BUT lie. Everything it produces is a lie of one sort or another. The traditional camera’s product is a two-dimensional miniature rendition of full-sized subject matter. Sometimes the rendition is monochrome. If in color, it is only a very limited, distorted imitation of the colors its user saw.
Quite a few of my photographs in the last several years have been pushing the reality envelope. Back in the Olden Times I had experimented with many techniques for altering or enhancing an image: selenium, copper, and gold toning, split toning, masked effects, and many other ways to tweak an otherwise “straight” photograph. Looking back over the history of the craft I was in some pretty good company. But of course that didn’t stop the critics who never seemed to tire of pointing out that I was polluting the so-called purity of photography. I suppose purity, like realism, is in the eyes of the beholder.
When I changed over from film to digital I became aware that the ante on image manipulation had been upped considerably. I was a slow process for me. The one dominant means for photographic manipulation was complex and almost too feature-rich for any one person to ever “master.” Lately, there are alternatives but nothing out there allows the worker to get easy, quick results— no matter what the ads say. The recipes for images that I liked were never off the shelf, never easy or straight-forward. Achieving a successful result involved long experimentation and complex combinations of effects and procedures— and far more failures than successes.
Why bother? Most of the time I don’t. But sometimes I want “something more,” or maybe something less. I want something that cuts to the chase, so to speak. It might be degrees of abstraction, fiddling with color, or messing with light intensity. It could be anything. Or nothing— just a whim. When people ask I sometimes take the humorous way out and tell them that at my age I find reality highly overrated. Well, MAYBE I am being humorous.
There is an anecdote about Picasso being criticized about the distortions of his artwork. He asked the questioner is he was married, to which the man replied that he was. Picasso then asked him if he had a picture of his wife in his wallet. Why, yes, the man responded and produced the picture. “Lovely,” said Picasso, “but how can you have a relationship with such a tiny woman?”
Effects in manipulated images can be difficult to see in small sizes. Clicking on the image will enlarge it.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Mornings are a pure delight, cool and bright. The mid-days can be uncomfortably hot from about ten on, but the late afternoons and the pre-dusk evenings are a return of the comfort of the mornings. As dusk gathers I am usually on the front deck, in my camp-style recliner, watching the dogs play and enjoying the cool breeze and the slowly dying light.
Emma, the old girl, enjoys loafing in a patch of cool sand. That she has excavated it directly on the path to the deck doesn't bother me. Visitors can go around. Mags usually stays close and is most often actually up on the deck with me, stretched out on a strip of indoor/outdoor carpet I put down for them. Jack is usually much too busy for relaxation to take hold. After all, there are brush piles to inspect, tall grassy areas to explore, and the "little woods" behind the house to check out for treasures and adventures. Now that all my plants are in large cow-tubs, he is even welcome to patrol the garden and has learned to open the gate on his own.
The only down-side is the prevalence of ferocious thunderstorms in the late afternoon and the possibility of tornadoes. But that goes with the territory.
June on the High Plains and life is good!
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Monday, June 24, 2013
This is itself was strange, as usually Em will just dive right in, oblivious to bites, and terminate a snake with extreme prejudice. But this time she was standing off and barking. I didn't want her to kill it, so I started down the steps to close the pen gate so she couldn't get at it. Just as I expected she would as soon as she saw me coming she lunged at the visitor to grab him. I had already figured out some time ago that she is far more ruthless with snakes if I am close by. Her protective instinct is flattering but a little too destructive for my taste. This time I managed to call her off and made her keep her distance while I swung the gate closed. She continued to bark but obeyed when I called her inside.
Jack was there the whole time, standing shoulder to shoulder with her but not barking or lunging at the snake. He was very interested in Mr Slithers, but wasn't making any moves toward it. I like this aspect of Jack's personality: He is by no means timid, but rather he is careful and thoughtful about interlopers and "strange things," without the instinct to dive straight in that has made Emma such a consummate murderer of reptiles and assorted other critters. Jack watches, circles, ponders, and as likely as not comes to get me. "Come see what I found!"
When I went back outside, the snake was gone. This is not the first time I have seen him on the place, so I'm hoping that maybe Em is mellowing in her old age.
For those who might not know... A bull snake (Pituophis melanoleucus sayi) is a non-poisonous snake that is a great exterminator of rodents. For that reason alone I like to have them around, but in general am not a snake fan at all.