The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

Anne Chandler leads this week’s Lens Artists Challenge and she asks the burning question, “What’s your photographic groove?” (Please visit Anne’s website, Slow Shutter Speed, for her take and those of others).

Grooves? I’ve had more grooves than a 33 RPM album.

I’ve done macro, landscape, reflections, sports, oceans and other assorted bodies of water grooves. There’ve been clouds, bugs, railroads, old barns, broken down cars and brand new skyscrapers.

And now?

Well, now I’m grooving on monochrome, incorporating some of the old passions and adding others, most notably cemeteries – or more accurately, graveyards. For an explanation of the difference between a cemetery and a graveyard, go back two months to one of my previous posts.

I rarely shoot in black and white, preferring instead to shoot in color and then edit into monochrome. A color image can always be converted to black and white but the converse is not possible. As Emeril once said, “You can always add, you can’t take away.” Remember that the next time you have a jar of cayenne pepper in your hand.

Why black and white?

Because it lends itself to some of the moods I’m drawn to; the old, the forgotten, the decrepit, the desolate and the dreary. Yeah, I’m the life of the party. Old Edgar Allen Poe has nothing on me.

Some of the images in this post have appeared in previous posts.

A road trip through the American Southwest can deliver you to places lonely and forsaken.

Below: Part of what’s left of the old mining town of Goffs, California in the Mojave Desert.

Goffs, California

Below: In Grants, New Mexico there’s no service at Charlie’s Radiator Service.

Can color properly convey the devastation wrought by a wildfire? Below: During the last leg of a 2021 road trip, we came upon the bleak remains of a forest in Northern California.

I love road trips and the main ingredient for a road trip is, well, a road – at least one. While a road passing beneath a canopy of autumn blazed trees begs for color, black and white serves a good road well, and a bad road even better. Continue reading

I love sports.

But I don’t often write about sports.

Maybe that’s because I don’t think my usual core of readers would be interested (That, even though I’ve told my friend Eden that I don’t really care what the fuck they like. I’ll write what I want and take what comes – or doesn’t come).

I love sports.

And sometimes I detest sports.

Why the dichotomy?

Because I’ve become a realist about sports, some might say a cynic and, in my most critical moments, some would call me a downright hater.

It wasn’t always this way. I used to think of sports as the great panacea, a nostrum for all the world’s problems. Athletics was, for me, that most pure form of human engagement. Sports was the classroom where the young could learn and hone values esteemed by society; dedication, hard work, perseverance, loyalty, leadership, patience, accountability and respect.

Hand two enemies a ball and they can become the best of friends.

I picked up those notions in my youth and carried them through to my early thirties.

And then I was struck – hard – by the reality of the darker elements of sports.

It was a disappointing realization at first; not unlike learning that there’s no Santa Claus, or that the love of your life is banging your best friend. As disappointing as spending your last buck on a hot dog and getting it served to you with ketchup slathered all over it

And so, I found the past week’s top stories in sports to be an interesting confluence of the good and the bad, the elements that inspire and dishearten, and frankly, disgust.

Continue reading

This week’s Lens Artist Challenge is led by Sarah of Travel With Me (link here) and she’s chosen a most prodigious challenge – three favorite photos.

How does one pick three favorite photos out of thousands? Okay, let’s be honest, how does one pick three favorites out of maybe a half a dozen. Most of my thousands are outright rejects. Then you winnow out the ones that are good but don’t qualify as favorites and what are you left with?.

I had just about decided to select three photos of four of my most favorite people – my grandchildren. Not because they’re really technically awesome photos but because I think my grandchildren are awesome. Call it, taking the easy way out.

And then I read Sarah’s loose, but certainly not mandatory guidelines which includes, “Choose three from different genres please, but those genres are up to you: macro, wildlife, street, landscape, architecture. Anything goes, but each must be an image you are proud of. Tell us a bit about each of your three photos please. Where you took it and when. Why you are pleased with it and have chosen it for this challenge.”

Well, that makes it all the more challenging.

Transamerica Pyramid
The photo below is of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. I shot this in color, looking straight up into a bright blue sky.

What I like about the photo is that it represents three relatively new phases in my photographic journey. Continue reading

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