pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: September 2011

29 September 2011


Gettysburg National Military Park
Adams County, Pennsylvania
25 July 2011

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, ambient light.

27 September 2011


9 September 2011

It was wandering off in the direction of Anaheim for the Angels game.

And now, the Angels are done for the season, or at least will be tomorrow.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, ambient light.

21 September 2011


Cooper's hawk
20 September 2011

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, ambient light, telephoto lens.

20 September 2011

Childhood's end

20 September 2011

The Trojan War was reenacted here. Spies snapped photos and transmitted secret codes. Pirates sailed the seven seas. A restaurant opened.

His grandparents bought the big wooden play structure for the son when he was 2. He loved climbing the slide, running up the ladders, swinging and driving with the steering wheel. When the daughter came along, she received the big plastic house and everything was utilized with enthusiasm.

When I called the hauler last week, I explained what needed to be taken, and said a little ruefully, "The kid it was purchased for is applying to college, so I guess it's time for it to go."

It had become what is known in the business as "an attractive nuisance." We found that visitors with young kids tended to assume that it was safe to leave their little ones unattended to play, and more than once, my heart caught in my throat when I found very small unsupervised tots hanging from it. We didn't have playground quality padding down there.

It was full of spiders.

I was surprised to learn that my children are more grieved that I am having the olive tree removed next month than they were that the play structure is no more.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, ambient light.

19 September 2011

Earth science

Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth
American Museum of Natural History
New York, New York
3 August 2011

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, ambient light.

18 September 2011

La toilette

Orange County, California
18 September 2011

I'm the first to acknowledge the quality of the photo is terrible. I was shooting through a screen door. But the circumstances were hilarious. The Cooper's hawk is becoming ever more comfortable in the yard. Today, it spent a good 10 to 15 minutes bathing--a first--and even dived in and looked to be enjoying bobbing around like a duck.

For the sake of scale, two hummingbirds bathing.

I guess I need a bigger fountain.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

16 September 2011

What goes up

Ferris wheel
Irvine, California
16 September 2011

The daughter has always had a thing about Ferris wheels, always loved going up on them. I, naturally, do not care for heights, but somehow always ended up on them with her. One year we went to the fair, and memorably, she was giggling her way through our ride on the baby wheel, when suddenly it stopped with us at the very top. I sat there and tried to concentrate on the pretty lights in the night, peered down at Chuck Berry performing on the stage adjacent to the rides, and generally tried to pretend that I was not 100 feet above the ground.

A few years back, she coerced me into a ride on this monster. Fortunately, it scared the bejesus out of her.

(I sat with my eyes closed the entire ride.)

Since then, every time we see it, she shudders delicately and murmurs something that sounds vaguely like, "Never again."

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. Yes! That Chuck Berry. I watched him from the top of a freaking Ferris wheel.

14 September 2011


Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York
4 August 2011

I've long had a fondness for Frank Lloyd Wright, though more for the design aesthetic and his decorative pieces than for the architecture itself. Clocks? Sprites? Stained glass windows? Bring it on!

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, ambient light.

12 September 2011


Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York
4 August 2011

I tend to "see" books as I read them and frequently take away a very strong mental image of what a house or landscape looks like, rightly or wrongly. In many ways, the writer Shirley Jackson was a very visual writer, and when I saw this paneling, I thought immediately of The Haunting of Hill House, a novel that I still read with a nod to the first images my teenage brain put upon it.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, ambient light.

11 September 2011


9 September 2011

I caught sight of the blimp wandering the northwestern sky, and wondered if I could get a photo. Milton sat in the son's window and worried. He asked me a question in a very small voice: had I possibly forgotten that it was almost his dinner time?

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, ambient light.

08 September 2011


8 September 2011

I was working indoors and I could hear the crows in our huge Italian stone pine raising the roof. Finally, I got curious enough to go investigate what was setting them off since it wasn't immediately obvious.

From the laundry room window, I caught sight of Olivier, the neighborhood Gentleman Cat About Town. Except he's not much of a gentleman, more of a bully. But he was basking peacefully in my vegetable garden (bare of vegetables, of course. Gardening hasn't been something I've been able to do much), nibbling at grasses and enjoying the sun.

Milton, naturally, loathes Olivier. They are about the same age, and when Olivier was a young half-grown kitten, another neighbor and I cared for him as best we could until a third neighbor decided to adopt him. So, Milton has always seen Olivier as an interloper and begrudged him every kibble I ever gave him. Of course, that Olivier tried to beat him up (Milton won) and frequently beat up Milton's friend Max, didn't sit particularly well with my feline, either.

None of this stops Olivier from romping around my yard. Milton generally sits behind the french doors or the laundry room window, performing the Dance of Rage.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40. Olivier does retain some vestigial memory that I once took care of him. He will roll on the ground when he sees me, singing love songs in his terrible rasping voice. Today, he did ecstatic figure eights around my ankles.

07 September 2011

Peace eternal in a nation united

Gettysburg National Military Park
Adams County, Pennsylvania
25 July 2011

I'm sure they believed it. After the sort of hell that the Civil War engendered, I'm sure they were determined to make it so.

These days, unfortunately, we are seeing the crazy crawl out of the woodwork. And make no mistake, they are crazy. But their presence in this leaderless vacuum is all too understandable, if completely undesirable.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

06 September 2011


Orb weaver
9 August 2011

I shot this at night, and sadly, she's pretty washed out. I came within inches of walking right into the web, which was at least a foot in diameter. We see a lot of these this time of year, but usually they don't start getting really significant in size until around October. I've seen some that look like they could take out a bird. Yeah, they are a, spidery...but their webs tend to be magnificent.

So, maybe this Christmas' lens will be a macro lens...

(No, it won't, but I can dream, right? Do I even dare admit that I'm starting to think about moving up to a D700? And no, that won't happen until I learn some more.)

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

03 September 2011

I can haz...?

3 September 2011

I was trying to simultaneously eat my breakfast and update the daughter's computer when Milton decided he might enjoy sharing my breakfast.


Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

02 September 2011

Like a hawk

2 September 2011

It sat there for a time, quietly, tracking the movement of butterflies and moths with some interest. Unusually, it had its back to the windows; generally all the birds prefer to sit on the left side of the fountain so they can track what we're doing.

Eventually, apparently satisfied that there was no threat, it bobbed its head under the water, sending an arc of spray into the air. It drank, then ducked its head once again. In moments, it was dancing along the fountain edge, splashing its wings, waggling its tail. It was not disturbed when I closed the laundry room window.

It was gone when I returned later, but the water level in the fountain was noticeably lower.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

01 September 2011

Out there, somewhere

A bridge
In Utah (I think)
11 August 2003

We tend to travel off the beaten track.

When the kids were younger, I put my foot down after a couple of disastrous trips and just said no to airplane travel. Hence, when vacation rolled around, it was car travel, sometimes for weeks.

We all enjoy the great outdoors; the spouse is a geologist so we see a great deal of the great outdoors. There was plenty to see and do while the kids were young, and we'd arrange our days to take in national parks and state parks and fish hatcheries and interesting places to picnic.

When you are out wandering the back roads, you see the strangest things. Here in the San Gabriel mountains, you can (and I have) hike to the Bridge to Nowhere. Wherever we were the day I took this photo, somewhere between Zion NP and Dinosaur, Colorado, we came upon this bridge. I always photograph bridges because my father-in-law was once a county engineer in California and he built a lot of bridges.

Bridges are cool.

Tech stuff: Taken with a Canon PowerShot S110. Even in the days before 9/11, air travel with little ones was a nightmare. It says something that I would rather spend three weeks in a car with them. With regards to the Bridge to Nowhere: now that the Internet exists, this is a pretty well-known hike. Be responsible and know what you are getting yourself into before you try it.