So the whole Time Marches On thing is in my face right now…well, the face of my whole neighborhood, actually.
My chosen theme for this Open Topic Challenge from Nancy Merrill is Experimenting with Telephoto Photography. I’m hoping it can help me see more clearly into the distance (and the future)… and maybe understand it better.
When I bought my home in 1976, there were only 4 other houses, all with horse acreage, on my long dead end street. Now there are 25 homes…and although, we still have a few chickens, there are certainly no horses. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the 40 plus years I’ve lived here but the trend now seems to be for a builder to come in and tear down anything from the 1980’s and before, and build these whopper new giant homes. I’m only partially complaining. We’ve gained a wonderful new group of neighbors, and luckily, all of our lots are still over-sized enough to accommodate a 3,000 to 4,000 foot home fairly well.
But sometimes heartbreaking things happen in the process….especially to the old growth trees! I have addressed this before and here is an example: Tree
Right now there is a wonderful little red and white farm house, barn, and matching well on the lot behind me facing the next street over. It’s been there since the late 1940’s. They are about to tear it all down (of course) and are building an 8,900 square foot house with a huge wall (not a fence…a WALL) around it. (None of the older homes in our neighborhood have fences. It’s wonderfully wide open.)
I should also say we live on a fairly tall hillside, and many of our homes have western views (if only partial) of the Olympic Peninsula and mountain range…beautiful!
Back to my complaining about so-called Progress…
So this McMansion builder, who is going to level the cute red farm house, first came in and took down 6 or 8 HUGE, beautiful trees along the western border of the property…assuming for the VIEW, right?? But I had to go over there and see just exactly what view would be worth murdering all those trees!
What follows is my telephoto experiment.
Here’s what’s most interesting to me. Remember, I am experimenting with telephoto photography, using the feature on a relatively inexpensive Canon point and shoot.
The whole time I am taking these pictures, I think I am shooting the Bellevue Skyline.
But I am actually capturing a blend of downtown Bellevue and the Seattle Skyline some eleven miles west of us.
And when I got TOO close, I accidentally got this shot! (which I kind of like!)
It was hazy that day, so all I could see clearly, in my clearly biased view, was that this builder guy had killed all those trees so his buyer had a view of our famous, rapidly growing, “tech-centered” city. All I could see was the combination of two city’s massive, view-blocking high-rises!
Then, later that day at Sunset, I got this shot…Bellevue, Seattle AND the Olympic mountains, which are 65 miles away (as the crow flies).
Oh……OK, at least from another person’s perspective, maybe I get it…….
These first two shots make me long for Summer again. Wasn’t that just yesterday???
But my favorite Filling the Frame are these. Just a little pile of Lucy parts!
And this last was an accident. I wish I could have really focused on the web.
Some weird combination of sun behind me or something. I just couldn’t quite get it!
I already LOVE this week’s challenge!
First the DATE! How fun! As a kid, I always told everyone 9 was my favorite number.
Also, as a kid, the word “stacked” meant something very different than the way Nancy Merrill is using it here. Don’t worry. If you are old enough to remember that use of the word, I will spare you any “R Rated” photographs…but here’s a word picture for you.
My last name was Bessey, which got mean-girl turned into “Busty”……because I wasn’t!
I was the very last girl in my P.E. class to wear a bra! And boy, did I get teased about that. But understanding just a little about genetics, even in junior high school, I knew a time might come when I deserved the nickname Busty. My mother, aunt and grandmother were all…uh, hugely STACKED. It just happened to each of them a bit later in life! Where are those Mean Girls now, huh?
Back to what I’m sure Nancy intended with this challenge…
It has taken me all week to figure what I might have in my life that is “stacked”. I have been completely blank…even last Saturday when we went to the Farmer’s Market. I actually took pictures but never equated the two things. Duh.
Then a trip down to the beach did not trigger an idea…duh.
Next, I house-sat for friends and took a bunch of photos out the kitchen window, trying to capture the interaction between a feisty squirrel and sarcastic Blue Jay! Uh duh.
And again, with the Universe shouting in my ear, on the long drive home, listening to early morning radio, there was a delightful debate among the D.J.’s about the piles of rocks one finds while hiking the Pacific Northwest trails. One suggested these stacks were Art. Another, a memorial. And the third, irate by the way, insisted they were trail markers, both directional and as a warning to indicate some difficulty.
I still could not figure out any thing in my life that was stacked. It wasn’t until going through old photos that I started to get a clue. First I spotted this…a wonderful house on Alki Beach called the Flower House. Check out the STACKED rows and boxes of flowers!
That made me think of our Mountain Retreat. Look how many stacked railroad ties that are holding it all together!
This reminded me of a trip we took this summer to Glacier National Park. We stopped for gas and I fell in love with this stacked rock wall.
You know, denial is a funny but powerful thing. I had all these hints and arrows pointing, but I STILL had not remembered the most obvious example of “stacked” in my life. There’s a good reason for that. I don’t want to think about it, but maybe confessing it here to you, will inspire me to get off my you-know-what and finish a massive task I took on 5 years ago.
I love our Casa in the mountains but parts of our paradise can be pretty gray, barren of vegetation for long stretches of the year. And though it serves an essential purpose, one of my least favorite views out of more than half the windows, is the massive stacked rock wall along the whole back of the house and driveway. It is actually a work of art in its way but it’s just bleak, all year round.
So I took it upon myself to brighten it up! I am NOT a gardener of any kind. I plant Primroses every year because they are the laziest, easiest thing I could find to bring color into my suburban yard. But we are at elevation at the Casa and very few things survive winter and the deer….except certain succulents!
So for years, I have been experimenting with just a few types at a time. Those amazing plants grow practically right out of the ROCKS. And so far, some have wintered well, and apparently are not of interest to our wildlife population.
But this wall of stacked rocks is over 60 feet long! It may take the rest of my life but little by little, I’ll get them all decorated!
Now I understand why I completely “forgot” about this example…literally right in my own backyard!
Whew! Stacked indeed!
Thanks for reading and I so love comments!! Especially from those Readers I have not welcomed or interacted with yet.
For 43 years now, this birthday guy and I have been proof that men and women can be best friends without all that romantic nonsense that seems required when a boy and girl become friends. We have had a fairly gender-less relationship.
It’s not that we haven’t had a bunch of different roles with each other. We’ve tried ’em all, believe me. 43 years is a long time.
For 30 years or more of those years, we had a delightful tradition of competing over our birthdays…who could outwit, out do, out surprise the other? My favorites from him involved dinner on a train with friends, a sunset cruise with his family, and the really sneaky one, when I met him for a drink in a very dark, very fancy bar, where it took me the better part of an embarrassing hour to realize all the other patrons in the bar were friends of mine…just waiting for me to discover them and be surprised! My favorite for him was the time I had a limo drive him all around town to very specific locations. Waiting for him in each destination, was the friend (sometimes a long-lost friend) he had shared a memorable event with in that very location. That one I was so proud of because the logistics (arrival times especially) were a nightmare and this was before GPS, cell phone contact, etc. It all went off perfectly. The evening culminated in dinner at his family’s favorite Mexican restaurant, and by then, our limo driver, having witnessed all these emotional reunions, was so connected, he joined us for dinner.
Each year, this tradition became more dramatic and elaborate until I think we both maxed out and silently agreed to just stop, and go back to corny, insulting birthday cards.
We do have our other ongoing battles for sure (sometimes feeling like the sibling role we adopt with each other). When we were younger, the fights we had were, uh, intense, heated, passionate, dramatic, elaborate, but always clean. He is the person in my adult life who taught me, through experience, people could be really angry with each other, and it didn’t mean they would leave or the relationship would be permanently damaged….or damaged at all, for that matter. Not my experience growing up, believe me.
Here’s a milder example of one of our disagreements.
I believe art is about taste, and only “good” if you happen to personally like it. He believes art is inherently either good or bad. Different upbringing for sure. He is widely educated in, and had a lifetime of exposure to historically and world famous art. His whole family is well versed in the field. He knows “good art” and will tell you exactly what’s wrong with “bad art”. He’s just that informed.
I, on the other hand, have very little interest in or knowledge of “real art”…although, when he and his family took me to the Getty museum, I have to admit getting goose bumps standing in front of several paintings. But I couldn’t tell you now who was on exhibit at the time.
I think, because my Dad taught me so young, to observe the “art” in even the smallest details around me, I instead fell in love with photography. Starting in the 4th grade, I never went anywhere without a camera. Are you old enough to remember that cheap Brownie camera so many of us had? Then the Instamatic, and I also had a Polaroid or two. I even got my first real job working in one of those little drive-thru Fotomat booths. People were thrilled to be able to get their pictures developed in ONE DAY!! And I loved being around all those people who loved snapping pictures like I did.
One of our ongoing debates has been about photography. Can it be “art”? He has leaned toward “No”. But to me, there is nothing more beautiful than capturing the “art” that actually exists…in real life…right there in front of you and your camera!
Being such a good friend, sometime in the early 1980’s, he gave me my first real camera…a beautiful Nikon, with amazing telephoto and macro lens! In some ways, it was wasted on me as I never really maximized my knowledge of that great camera. But I did get hooked on that macro lens. Imagine some 35 years ago, being able to take a close-up of a butterfly’s feet, or the mountainous texture of wrinkled blue velvet. Of course, now most of our phones can do that, but back then?? People seemed impressed because that kind of close up was so new. I kinda got it in my head that I might be ever so slightly “artistic” with my camera…a bit of a stretch, but the bottom line is I became completely enthralled with photography and it has been one of my favorite hobbies (passions? obsessions?) ever since. I LOVE taking pictures.
I have my best friend to thank for that.
So for his birthday (very few know his actual birth year, because he looks and acts much younger than his age) I am dedicating this post to him. To say thank you for the life-lessons, the experiences, the joy all these years, and for sharing his family with me. But most especially, to thank him for finally finding his princess…a lovely modelesque, blond-bombshell, adorned in all her pinks!! (He’s met his match with her, educationally, artistically, and she is so wonderful, she may well bump him into the 2nd best friend position!)
Oh and to say thanks for that now almost antique camera.
Here are some of my favorite photos, many of which I deserve no artist credit for because they were completely accidental. But they are my version of Art, so I share them in love and gratitude. There are a lot of them but in keeping with our tradition, I had to go BIG and be dramatic!
Hope you enjoy! (If you want to see an individual photo bigger, click on it and it should enlarge.)
Flowers and other growing things
Hummers and Crows (different from the other birds…)
I would love comments!!! Even if they are to debate!!