Thursday, December 21, 2017

The 7th Web Based. . .

"Occasionally" Annual Salmon Beach Bulletin

Wow; my 2nd post of the year! I'm not sure whether I'm doing less, or the time is moving faster, but I'm really not happy to find myself at the end of yet another year, but I don't know what to do about it.  No matter, I'm ecstatic to still be here, and in good health; hopefully, this wonderful season finds you all the same.

This has got to be one of the strangest years that I can remember living through, politically speaking, and I have to remind you all:  (BTW, if you click on a photo, it will expand to give you a better look!)

 The R's are divided; the D's are divided; the indies are divided, and the races are as divided as ever.  I keep hearkening back to the words of "that great American", Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"  And, as cynical as I am, I suspect that the powers that be are happy for us to stay this way, as we don't have any political power, divided as we are!  OK, 'nuff said!

This year, I only took 1 trip, which was up to British Columbia on a photo shoot, and if you didn't check out the photos that I posted back in mid-April, you should find it just below this post.

And, I wound up taking my new avocation to another level, by actually printing some of my photos on aluminum, and man, was I ever happy with the results!  This is the first one I had printed, and after a year, I still find my eyes drawn to it:

I'm finding that there are a lot of things that are fun to shoot besides landscapes; this was my first attempt at "focus stacking", which is combining a bunch of shots, focused at different depths, and then combining them into one photo:

Yep, I realize the background is out of focus; that's on purpose, so it doesn't draw attention from the subject!  A couple of days later, I shot this, which is also focus stacked, and I was just tickled, because it doesn't even look real!

There are 2 trips planned for the coming year; a 9 day trip to Hawaii; 5 days on Kauai, and 2 days on Hilo, and a couple days traveling, and sometime in the fall, I'll be realizing my Iceland fantasy, both trips with James Brandon, the guy who headed up the Banff trip!

In August, on my birthday, the northwest received the "present" of heavy pollution from Canada.  In last year's SBB, I mentioned the miles and miles of dead standing timber (courtesy of a pine beetle infestation), and that I was afraid of what might happen if that started burning.  Despite my fears, it wasn't that area that burned, but the pollution was here for a couple of weeks, and yielded some surreal sunrises & sunsets:

Believe it or not, this was shot about 1/2 hour before sunset, on August 4th at 9 o'clock!  There were a couple of days when I couldn't even see the bridge or Gig Harbor from here; it was rough for people with breathing problems.

We had a couple of weeks of "clear air" at the end of August, but on Sept. 8th I shot this at 6 p.m., and this time, the smog was because of the fires down in Oregon:

YUK!  Once again, though, there was a silver lining to the smog:

I had the wonderful experience of being taken back to my early 20's, via my friend, Neal, the doctor that got me into the UW Med center back in '14 (can't believe that's been almost 4 years!).  This guy is an amazing dude; not only is he a surgeon, but a fine classical guitar player, and in his "spare time", he managed to do a frame-off restoration of this gorgeous little '63 356 C, Porsche:

I had a '59 356 convertible for the couple of years that I was in Halifax back in '67, but I have to admit that it didn't hold a candle to this little beauty, and Neal let me drive it for about an hour, and I was sooooo nervous; man, was it fun!

I’m pretty excited, as for the last year or two, I’ve been thinking about getting back into camping (I really want to get back up to the Point of the Arches, up on the Macah Indian Reservation at the top of the peninsula!), but most of my friends are more interested in staying in their RVs, or the Red Lion, and aren’t in any shape to hike, nor do they have the inclination to do so.  20 or 30 years ago, I would have gone by myself, but. . . Maybe “they” are right; “With age comes wisdom!”, because I realize that disaster can happen in the blink of an eye (witness last week's Seahawk’s game), so I’ve been leery to do that.  Last fall, I found that one of my friends, who is also a photographer and got divorced a year ago, was in the same boat, and we’ve made plans to do some camping when he returns from doing a bathroom remodel for some of his friends, back in Maine.

I’ve never been very competitive, and my photography, like my music, has always been pretty much for myself.  For some reason, performing was always stressful for me, and I never enjoyed it as much as I loved just sitting around playing by myself.  The 3 years that I played trumpet at Chief Jo Junior High was the same thing, and back in ’80, I tried, unsuccessfully, to overcome that by getting into the jazz band at Tacoma Community College, and realized that I had found my niche as a teacher.  Unfortunately, over the years where a lot of friends were getting married, I got drafted to play at their weddings, and just didn’t feel like I could turn them down when they asked me to do it, but by the time that I had worked pieces up to performance level, I was dreaming the music, and sick of the tunes!  For some reason, putting pictures out there just doesn’t feel “threatening” to me, and it’s kind of fun to share that aspect of my Life with my friends.  I do wish that I had that same outlook on my music, but it is what it is.

And speaking of music, my tastes have always leaned toward guitar oriented stuff, and "the kids these
days" (remember your folks talking about "them"?) aren't leaning that direction, so, for the most part, I've been using Amazon Prime's site for discovering new music, and I'm being drawn back towards country (rock!), so you might want to check out (if you're interested!) to listen to:

  • Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit: Anxiety, Cumberland Gap, 
  • First Aid Kit:  My Silver Lining
  • The Avett Bros.: It’s the Beaches
  • Beck: Turn away
  • Lake Street Dive: I don’t care about you
  • Jason Aldean: The only way I know
  • WILLIAM Clark Green:  Ringling Road
  • Cody Jinks:  Rock and roll
  • Mike Ryan: Bad reputation
  • Ryan Adams: Gimme Something Good
  • Drive-By Truckers:  Sink Hole
  • Lucero: Summer Song

  • (the artist's name is first, and the name of the tunes, second)

    I must be "maturing" as I’ve been thinking about selling the bike; the fun, where I used to be impatient for nice days to ride, seems to have disappeared as the freeways have gotten worse, and the thoughts on nice days run more to the, “I need to get the bike out, ‘cause it isn’t good for it to sit without riding it.”  The operative word there is “need”, rather than, “WANT”, and  even your crazy ol’ friend realizes that hitting the freeway around here is a bigger gamble than he really wants to chance.  Since I’ve had ‘em most of the time since I was 17, and have never been hurt (I just knocked on my desk 3 times), the odds are mounting against me. . .

    My Life took a dramatic turn for the worse about 6 weeks ago.  It was one of those "diamond days", as a nice piece of firewood floated up under the house, and I spent most of the day cutting, splitting and stacking it, and for the first time since I was diagnosed, I have an almost full wood shed.  About 4:30, I threw on a pot of coffee, and while it was brewing, I decided to scope out the beach under some of the adjacent cabins.  I went to go down the steps to the beach, and slipped on the last stair, and down I went, very hard!  If this had been a cartoon I would have been levitating, both my feet would have been out in front of my face, my eyes would have looked like saucers, and the narrative in the "balloon" over my head would have read, "This is gonna hurt!"  I scraped up my right arm but slammed down on the big muscle that kind of wraps from underneath your armpit down around your ribs on your back.  It hurt so badly that I couldn't even swear and I lay there for a couple of minutes and gently got up and got back up the stairs, but then I had to brace myself for about 5 minutes before I could get back to the house.  I either cracked or broke a rib and I missed the next 3 weeks of lessons, because I could only stand to be upright for a couple of hours before I had to get horizontal, again.

    I couldn't sit at the computer for more than 15 minutes, hence the late start on the SBB, but since I'm now almost back to "normal" (yeah, yeah; I can hear several of you snorting in amusement!), I was out working on the wood pile yesterday, and am thinking about getting back to my exercises.

    Today is the first day of winter, and it felt like it; it was 30• this morning when I got up, but I had the wood stove prepped and ready, and the house was toasty 15 minutes later.  Sia had her own way of handling the cold night:

    but 10 minutes after I fired up the stove, she emerged from the comforter and was stretched out about a foot from the door of it, where the heat concentrates.  All these years of heating with wood, and having so many animals that claim that area for themselves, and I still don't understand how they can deal with it!

    I know that for a lot of you, that this has been an emotionally disturbing year, with all the crap that's gone on, so, as a parting shot (pun intended!), here's something to think about (you who are on FaceBook will have seen this.):  during tough times, there are still incredible moments of peace and beauty, if you take the time to look around; I just wish there were times we could all take flight and leave our  troubles far behind!

    I hope you all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!