wander project the very light we chase…

The problem with photographs is that they are always new. Dorian Gray kept his picture in the attic. Until someone else found it, then Dorian Gray got old fast! Pictures capture light. They capture the essence of what the subject was attempting to convey. But also the intent of the photographer in that second. But in that second, the very light sought is gone. You take a picture of a second, but it is not of the light that caught your eye in the first place. That light is now gone 1860,000 miles or more away. It takes 2 seconds to aim and shoot a picture. Less if you already have the camera ready but still time. The shutter requires a 1/5 of a second or less but still time.

Another part beyond the light changing, is the reality of time changing. The pictures I am sharing is of a house in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a year old or less than a year old when the picture was taken. It is now nearly 22 years old. The picture if you took it now would be different. That is the delta that a picture creates. The moment captured is never to be again. But the moment we seek is not the moment captured. That is interplayed the photographer’s faces. Humans move slower than light. But cameras move faster than humans. What is, reflects the eye of the photographer and then through the synapses of the human body to the finger poised on the shutter.

We are the moment captured. But that moment moves on. As I said, the house in the picture was less than a year old at the time of the picture. 21 years ago. Not reflection, although by definition the light reflects from the object. All objects see by the eye are reflections — the light is bouncing off the object and coming to our eyes, we see them. With the picture, we have seen now as they were. Look upon pictures now, and see what once was. But what once was is no more. It is gone forever in the blink of the eye, that missed the perfect picture. The light, reflecting everything moves on. In the time it took you to read this, the light is gone forever. It will not return as it was, then again.


wander project what my grandfather saw

My grandfather used to walk all over, perhaps better said around Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Later, when he was in Racine, he still walked but didn’t take as many pictures then as he did in the Dells. These pictures today are from some of his walks. Although, I know, his all-time favorite walk consisted of sticks and 18 holes. My grandfather loved to play golf. Both of my grandfathers loved to play golf. I wonder if that was living in Wisconsin thing. I don’t know. Anyway, my grandfather loved to walk; he passed that love of walking to my father. I wonder if, as a teenager, my father rebelled against walking with my grandfather? I know I rebelled against walking with my father as a teenager!

I realized much later the joy of walking. I suspect the Twins, who are kind of anti-walking right now, will grow out of that as well. You never know. Some of the walks my grandfather took, back when they lived in the Dells are no longer possible. The City that was 500 people when I was a little kid and they lived there is now a town of around 2700 or so people. It is funny that my father was born and raised in the small town of Wisconsin Dells (500 people). When my mother was young, she moved to a small town (Cambridge Wisconsin) population 500 or so people. I wonder if that small town Wisconsin Heritage allowed them to connect on a level.

My wife grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. I moved there when I was young. The exact opportunity of my parents (Dad born and raised in a small town. Mom moving there as a youngster). My mother was a little older than I was when I was moving to a small town. Bloomington Indiana is also a larger town than either Cambridge Wisconsin or Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin (Both my mother and I moved from Chicago area to the small town). I know, when my wife and I have a chance to go back to Bloomington, we have a list of places to go. Things to see (starting with my mom!), I sometimes wonder if that commonality helps you as you move along the life you choose to lead.


wander project images of my grandfather

The pictures today are from my father’s father, part of what my grandfather saw series. As I’ve mentioned, my grandfather often labeled his picture collection by the year the pictures were taken. Some years were more prolific than others. The reality of the pictures my father took early in his photography journey and the ones my grandfather took his entire journey is that they were taken on a film camera. Many of my grandfathers filmed to slide. I think my fathers were closed for many years to 50/50. Half, slides and half printed pictures. The evolution of cameras to digital changes the number of pictures you can take. I have 5800 slides take by my grandfather from 1956 until roughly 1972 when he passed away.

My daughter and I captured many pictures (as did my wife and the twins although they took many fewer) around 6000 pictures on our last trip to Europe.  Digital cameras don’t cost six bucks for the film (they used to come in fun metal or plastic cans). Then another 8-10 dollars to process the film and create prints. That was why my father built a darkroom in the house. Although if you factor in the cost of that room, and the chemical and paper I suspect based on the reality of economics, his later pictures were more expensive. It cost anywhere from 40 to 60 cents to take 36 pictures and have them processed and printed onto slide or photo paper. Photography was an expensive hobby.

Now you can take pictures at a much lower cost. We have a wonderful Olympus camera that cost around 500 us dollars. I am currently working on the 9000th picture taken with that camera. That puts the per picture cost at less than 5 cents per picture. That cost, of course, will go down over the summer. I suspect we will take 2000 or more pictures this summer dropping the cost per digital picture down to 3 cents or less per image captured. If you only take pictures with your cell phone, your cost per picture is a lot higher. When you factor the cost of the phone and the service, you are probably running 10 to 12 cents per picture. Far less than the cost of a film camera.

Now we can discuss the reality of ability. My Grandfather and Father were better photographers than I am. They were careful and studied each picture before taking it. I just take 100 in the time they would have taken 2. Volume isn’t quality!


wander project bird watching and water!

An Osprey, a protected Maryland bird! I love seeing them. They nest out on the buoys and channel markers of the Bay. There are a couple of pictures of the one we saw this weekend. He or She is just relaxing on top of the pole. They are very used to boats motoring or sailing by they are not often startled by boaters. On the larger channel markers, they build their nests. On the smaller markers, such as the ones in the pictures, they often relax and wait. I don’t know who their natural predators are; I doubt it is Maryland Blue Crabs. Not many fish are big enough to post a threat to an Osprey other than a shark, and the places where sharks are, this time of year are much further into the Bay.

As we were heading back to the slip, we saw the coolest pontoon boat (it’s in a couple of the pictures) I’ve ever seen. First, it was a lot smaller than you would normally see. More like the Mark Twain, Huck Finn Mississippi raft. Not something you would take out into the Bay. But a cool family boat that was fun to watch.

It is fun for me to watch the boats as they roll by. When I was little I used to help my grandfather; he would put in the dock (I was only part of that process twice in my life he did that very early in the year when I was still in school). But I would take the rowboats out of the water and clean them. My grandfather back in the day didn’t have a pressure washer, so we cleaned them the old fashioned way. Pull them out of the water, wheel them up to the spot by the house. Flip the boat upside down and scrub. Luckily they were fiberglass rowboats so that you wouldn’t wear the paint off. We never pulled the powerboat out of the water that I recall, except at the end of the year.

I hate gardening to this day, but I still love boating, even though I had to clean the boats! I suspect there was a father-son, grandfather grandson thing happening. Fathers try to pass wisdom on to their sons. It is hard-fought and hard-won wisdom. Grandfathers have wisdom, but they also don’t have the direct day to day living with the grandson.

I guess in the end you listen to your grandfather more. In part, because they will be part of your life many fewer years than your father. In part, because they aren’t the day to day manager. I do know I turned to my grandfather for advice often. When he passed away, I started turning to my father. The advice was always good! Now I turn to my mother, the advice is great!


Wander project A fish story!

More pictures on the water. As we headed out towards the river basin, we encountered a fairly large dead fish. That, of course, prompted me to take pictures. That picture takes prompted my wife to remind me of the fish story! Like all couples that have been together for a long time, we have a lot of common stories. This is one of those stories. One day, when we lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, before our daughter was born, we had nothing to do on a Saturday. We decided to visit the Northern Kentucky town of Newport. Newport is part of Cincinnati; there is just this huge honking, the muddy river between Cincinnati proper and Newport proper. Oh yeah, and somewhere in that river a state line.

But in terms of distance, they are not far apart. We wandered around the city for a bit, enjoying the walk. We were both hungry, so we decided to go to General Lee for lunch. General Lee is an old now permanently moored, riverboat, on the river. Actually on the Ohio River on the Kentucky shore. We walked in; the place was pretty empty. We sat down at a nice table, and our server took our drink orders — Diet Coke for me, Iced Tea (not sweet tea) for my wife. We talked and settled in. The server came back and asked if we were ready to place our order. We said yes. I ordered a burger and fries. The server looked to my wife and made the mistake of asking her, “what will you have.”

Don’t ask me why that was a mistake. At that time, I didn’t know it was a mistake to ask my wife that.  I do now, but then I did not.

My wife paused and looking out the window; she saw a large dead catfish floating by. She said, “I’ll have that.” Pointing at the Fish out the window.

The server was not amused.

I was.

Needless to say, my wife did not wish fresh fish this past weekend. So we let the dead fish float on by!


Wander project wandering to the Bay

A father’s pride is the beginning of the pictures. I do not, in fact ever get to take pictures as the boat enters and leaves the slip. It is normally my job to do that. Yesterday it wasn’t my job to take the boat out of the slip or to put the boat back into the slip. My daughter came along for our Sunday trip on the boat and her for the first time, did both jobs. Beaming father standing at the ready. She needs to practice and be more confident with the process. You need to be smooth and relaxed, Plus she will also need to do it on a windy day. The wind moves boats a lot! But, again beaming father (beaming parents) our daughter accomplished the task handily. Proud parents!

We wandered out to the edge of the Bay and the back towards the other side of the Rhode River basin. I don’t know that it is the Rhode River on the other side. Looking at a map, it isn’t Rhode River. But when considering where we are in relations, I am calling the Rhode River basin. We got to go to the edge of the bay. My daughter brought her good friend along, who had never seen the actual Bay. So, off to the bay was the first part of the trip. The river we come out of is quiet. Because of the trees around the marina, the wind will normally not be a problem unless the wind is from the due west. Then, it becomes a bit more precarious as you wander towards the slip.

Today’s interesting Bay Fact. This year is predicted to be one of the best Maryland Blue Crab harvest years in the last few. It is interesting also enough the first year in the last 20 that the Bay itself is warmer than normal. The temperature was around 85 degrees when we got on the boat at the Marina. As you leave the river, you end up on the Bay. The air coming off the water is cooler. Normally by 15 or so degrees. This year the water is warmer, so we won’t get the 15-degree difference later in the year. But yesterday was perfect. The air was crisp and cool once we cleared the Rhode River. You could feel the temperature drop as we came out into the broader and deeper water.


Wander project the Land Down under…

(all of these pictures taken on my solo trip to Australia)…

Being away from home can be taxing. I was always able to adjust to the local time zone in a couple of days. But not having my wife or the kids around was something I never adjusted to. Over the years, we’ve gone to many places with the kids — a few places, just my wife and me. My wife got to go with me to Mexico City and spend a week. I was teaching a class during the week, and she explored the city. We spent the weekend wandering Mexico City! The other trip we got to take just the two of us was to Paris.  Traveling alone was always a little harder. There was no one to share with. I took a lot of pictures. I told my wife that until she saw the pictures, the trip wasn’t really for me.

Mexico, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta were vacationed we took with the kids. Two different cruises in the Caribbean. We also ended up visiting the Bahamas and Grand Cayman with the kids. We got to see so much of the world with the kids over the years. It is so important to get kids out of where they are and show them the rest of the world. It is easy to believe my part of the world is the best part of the world. I am not anti-nationalist. I love where I live. Rather, there is so much more in the world than what we see out our window. I always tell my children the most important skill they can have is to be able to stop and consider the other side.You don’t have to agree with the other sides position. But if you know where they are coming from, understand where they are, it is easier to find common ground eventually. My grandfather taught me that. He also taught me if the other side digs in, stop arguing and walk away.  Entrenchment probably dragged the first world war on a year longer than it needed to go, thousands of lost lives. Family vacations for me are the best. It is fun to show my wife and the kids places I’ve been to. It is also fun when we go to places I’ve never been. Our trip to Mexico (Puerto Vallarta) was a place I had never been. Wandering Norway three years ago, was a place I had never been.Family is the gift you get to have with you all the time!