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Friday, 13 January 2023


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I always love seeing photos of Butters.
Hope you'll be feeling better and "normal" soon, Mike.

Sounds like the glass half full or half empty analogy. Though the main thing is to focus on, is that your health is ok.
Love the picture of Butters, dogs really have it sorted, enjoying the simple pleasures of life.

Luck is just how our personal circumstances intersect with the wider world.

The consequences of your outing were that you received some expert medical advice and, as cream on the cake, enjoyed the visual experiences along the way.

Sounds like good luck to me.

...a target-rich environment. I should have been shooting. There were picture prospects everywhere—almost literally everywhere I looked. But..."

I remember 35 or 40 years ago reading "Outdoor Photography" magazine which had a profile of a prolific shooter (wish I could recall his name) that had multiple pages of spectacular sunset and sunrise photos. In the written interview on his process he said that every so often he had to tell himself, "This one is just for me." The act of capturing the event can prevent you from just taking it in and appreciating it.

So you didn't have your camera, but you obviously took it in and relayed it in narrative form, so it was not lost.

Hope all is well with your medical situation.

Forty-some years ago when I hunted deer for a couple of seasons, I was walking along a forest service road over top of the Paw Paw Tunnel on the C&O Canal with four of the men I hunted with. It was overcast, the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the Maryland mountains. A turkey flew overhead, a small speck in the sky. On a whim, I raised my rifle with only iron sights and pulled the trigger. The bird circled slowly descending and finally plummeted into a beech sapling ten feet from me and hung itself in a crotch of branches. That shot, through the neck, pure unadulterated luck, lives in infamy to this day. We gave the bird to my friend’s grandmother who lived in the small town nearby, Paw Paw, West Virginia.

". . . overall, I still don't know quite how to feel about the trip. It was either lucky or unlucky. I still don't know which."

Although without your specialized camera, you previously mentioned that you have a very good memory for photos you missed. So those scenes will stay with you. You also might have picked up some ideas or locations for future jaunts.

Plus, you're -- you know -- alive, so there's that!

I wish I could have stopped several times on my way to work. The trees were all covered in snow and framed the road with a beautiful scenery. It may be better to take a video while driving, although that would entail installing a mount to allow hands-free recording.

I hope your health scare will be a one-time occurrence. Having a snowy environment is ideal for your black and white sensor camera. Everything except the extremes are shades of gray. Go wild! :>)

I like the shot of Butters. Dogs always know where the warm spots in a house are located.

"But I didn't have my camera with me."

Mike, do you hear yourself? This is one of your long-running themes.

Come on. Carry the thing. Make it a habit. Feel naked without it.

And remind yourself that there's no shame in coming home without taking the camera out of its bag.

[But if I had taken the camera, there wouldn't have been any pictures anywhere. It's catch-22. :-)

I'm joking, but, seriously, I often don't take the camera because I'm on a schedule and don't want to be tempted to stop. --Mike]

Time for some tough love... You now have the camera of your dreams, you live in some seriously scenic countryside, you're old enough to know that photographs can happen anywhere, anytime with or without you. If I can slip a GR into pocket to grab the occasional keeper going to or coming home from work or the supermarket, you can throw yours on the car seat beside you! No-more-excuses.

Let go of Good and Bad, and it's just a day.

Simply experience, without judgement. Judgement uses up mental and emotional energy, leaving less for full experience.

Just a day is more likely to be one that is enjoyed.

Oddly enough, something that might be judged Bad, when not judged, may be enjoyed.

Something I might have judged Good, will, for the lack of judgement, be all the sweeter.

“ It was a rainy, cold, inhospitable evening.”
It’s 96°f here, which for me is less hospitable than your predicament.
Stay safe Mike, and good health.

Please be consolated by the notion that even we, the visual types, don’t have to exploit photographically everything we see.

Hope it went well with the cardiologist Mike.

Mike wrote But if I had taken the camera, there wouldn't have been any pictures anywhere . But you can’t have known that. There could have been a road blockage of some sort, for example.

I don’t think luck has anything to do with it. If you live 70 miles from the Canadian border it’s gonna snow once in a while and if you live past 60…well, shit happens. The good and bad events of the day are usually about you and your perspective being in motion and adapting along the way. If things go bad, then you’ve learned something new. Any time you leave the comfort of your favorite chair and venture out into the world you are bound to make a mark on the day. Odds are that you would not have had an amazing experience sitting at home.

Shit happens –Forrest Gump

Shift happens –Earthquake-readiness campaign in California (Wikipedia)

“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.” –Coleman Cox

Mike wrote, "But I didn't have my camera with me."

You left your phone at home?

Two of my best "snow" pictures -- maybe the two best -- were taken with my phone. One more came from my little Sony a-6000 which spends a lot of time quietly riding around in my car.

Way off topic, but that wood stove looks far too close to flammable items. Is that an optical illusion and it's really code compliant? On topic, I find that carrying a camera almost guarantees that nothing will happen. Don't carry it, and the heavens will open, the seas part, and you will witness miracles you can't share.

[It's not a wood stove, it's a gas Franklin stove. It's vented to the outside via a catalytic converter. Air goes in underneath the front and comes out those two slots in the top. Very effective. But it doesn't get terribly hot on the outside. And very convenient--turns on with a switch. Even has a remote control that can double as a thermostat. --Mike]

What a wonderful image of Butters, Mike! (And a rich caption.)

Butters feels lucky that he has a nice home, food, warm fireplace in winter and a good owner. If you don't expect too much, you will always feel lucky.

The first time I played a proper game of cricket as a child, I was asked to bowl. I took out the middle stump first time. The rest of the over were wides. I was not asked to bowl again.

Som fifteen years ago I missed one of those rare opportunities. I had just left a shop carrying whatever I had bought in my left hand and my camera in my right one (a Leica M6 I had purchased not long before that for $800. Yes, that’s true. This was before the hype went hysterical). Across the street I noticed a young man riding a unicycle. From the other direction an elderly man in a wheel chair was approaching him. Of course they met and passed and naturally I was too slow to react. Maybe just as well. I am still on the fence whether a picture would have been ethical, but the image remains very clear in my mind.

"When I was a kid I hit a robin at a hundred and fifty feet with a Daisy pump-handle BB gun"

It's bad form to engage in one upmanship in anecdotes, but, sorry I can't resist. When I was a kid, there was a group of us riding in the back of a pickup truck on a bumpy dirt road. My best friend saw a hummingbird on a telephone pole support wire about 50 feet away. He stood up and, with his Daisy pump action BB gun held at waist level, shot the bird off the wire.

This was 40 years ago and I recall it more vividly than my wedding or various events that were professional achievements for me.

Isn't that strange?

And I have to say that the shame and self-disgust I feel for all the poor birds I slaughtered as kid haunts me and is, no doubt, one of the reasons I support so many avian conservation organizations. I wonder if I would do that had I not felt the need for penance.

No doubt there were photo-ops on the way *back* from your appointments, when there should be less deadline pressure.

But that's just snark. Living far away now, reading this blog constantly reminds me of what beautiful country you live in. And of how little advantage, photographically, I took of it when It was home ground. Not that I'm ashamed of what I did accomplish, but that I didn't concentrate on the Finger Lakes when they were only an hour away.

Not that I’m glad someone shares a murderous youthful event—and also mentioned by another in comments, but I too—after 55 years, think of the time I shot a squirrel with my BB gun. I couldn’t believe I actually hit it and I was devastated when it fell from the tree dead. That haunted me for a long time and I’ve never, ever forgotten my transgression. I’m guessing a lot of guys have similar youthful BB gun tales and my hope is that each one of them is regretted.

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