I’m pretty sure I have never, in my whole life, experienced anything as completely addicting as playing Free Cell, with an obscene supply of Jordon Almonds on hand……
Sometimes, I’m oblivious to beauty.
It’s always there though.
It’s almost embarrassing to discover how long I might have ignored a beautiful offering from Nature, from the Universe…
But then the SUN, loudly and clearly, spotlights a thing I hadn’t noticed, something I’d been ignoring.
I can’t always capture it with my camera, but it’s usually impossible to walk by without a pause to appreciate…
You really must try it…
My FAVORITE piece of art…that I hadn’t looked at in a while
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…….
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!!
I have done a photo post on Street Art,
and on Street Anemones,
So why not Street Jewelry?
The idea started when I heard a story on NPR about walking around Seattle and how much there really is to see if you pay close attention.
I pride myself in noticing beauty in the most ordinary and familiar of scenes, a treasured lesson from my father. But after the NPR interview, on my regular walking route, I discovered visual treats even I had never noticed!
At a certain time of the morning, once the sun has risen enough to spotlight certain things, one can find a delightful array of sparkling access points to an underground world not thought about. How had I never looked down and noticed all this before??
It looked like jewels, mostly stately old broaches, shining up from the old asphalt.
I went home and looked up “jewelry” and found this.
“ornamental pieces (such as rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets) that are made of materials which may or may not be precious (such as gold, silver, glass, and plastic), are often set with genuine or imitation gems, and are worn for personal adornment” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jewellery
So I started photographing Street Jewelry.
This is all just on my street (a dead end about the equivalent of 3 city blocks).
PS OH, and check THIS out!!! I decided to turn the corner at the top of my quiet lane and walk a little ways on the more main thoroughfare. Look at the lovelies I found, right under my feet!!
I absolutely LOVE how many countries are represented!
Now if I can just find the right “Challenge” so I can share this with even more readers.
I’ve been missing from the Blogosphere for a while…a little distracted by everyday life…and a few relatively minor “first world” problems…well, they will seem minor someday, I’m sure…
A small leak, needing a plumber to fix it…but in my wonderful, century-old house, it was a $30,000 to $40,000 job!!! The exact death knell for my home I’ve been dreading for 45 years.
Luckily, James is a genius and figured out the $5,000 to $7,000 version that buys us some more years here. He has done an amazing job of creative plumbing, as well as a “might as well do it now” kitchenette remodel for the tiny basement apartment we live in here. We shifted down so my son and growing grandsons could live upstairs where the ceilings heights are normal. That way, they don’t end up with banged heads and visits to the chiropractor from all the ducking it required for them down here.
It’s been distracting and stressful.
Why is it that when I go camping, some bottled water, a freshwater stream and maybe the luxury of a porta-potty are more than enough. But no running water in my home for 8 or 9 days is enough to send me over some edge I didn’t know existed. That means no dish washing or shower or laundry or certain kinds of cooking, or the biggie, no TOILET all this time.
I do have to say, James and the guys made sure MY bathroom was up and running first. I claimed it as mine when we first moved downstairs. I decorated it perfectly for my taste, all aqua and frilly, and have called it the “Girl Bathroom” ever since. The guys have two other bathrooms, but in our current crisis, their’s are not restored to a usable state yet…so I’m sharing.
Have I mentioned I live with SIX MEN?
Having NOT grown up, or lived for any length of time in a Third World situation, I am now way too old to haul my own water. This current situation has highlighted, LOUDLY, how amazing it is, and how lucky we are to have fresh, running water…and these days, with the new faucets and such, you can literally just wave your hand, and voila, clean, hot or cold running water,
I tell you what, I am now Matt Damon’s biggest fan.
There are the other, expected construction zone inconveniences of course.
I mean, below is my living room.
These piles will be cleared up eventually, and I can see the beginnings of a real kitchenette, after more than 40 years of makeshift counters, shelves, and a 1930’s enameled, cast-iron sink and drawer unit, grabbed from an old Seattle apartment building destruction. Most of the college students and single Mom’s I’ve rented to over the years thought it was “cool”.
Out with the old…
But in the mean time, I cherish my outside moments each day even more than usual.
And sent just for me to brighten my day, look who I found while watering my Fuchsia.
This Mama Oregon Junco has had her own plumbing problems lately because I have been soaking this plant (and her nest) every day for a couple of weeks now…and yet, here she still is….
My inspiration to hang in there….