I've been in low-power mode this week while recovering from a hernia repair. If you have been through this, you know that while it's not bad, at the least, it knocks you out of service for a few days. This past weekend, it was crunch time for us to help our son buy a new, used car. Read on to learn how upside-down the car market is and how all our scripts changed - overnight.
The other evening, I was washing my wife's car, and one of my neighbors popped out to say hi. It had been quiet up and down the street, and my neighbor's appearance broke my trance. I burst out with, "Isn't this the perfect summer evening? I mean, out washing the car in the driveway, the sun is setting, and the bugs are singing. Isn't this great? Now this is summer!" My neighbor, John, agreed and went on.
I mentioned Flaming Hot Cheeto Girls in a recent essay of mine. I promised to write more about the phenomenon in a future story. This is the week for that story, and I'm afraid I'm in over my head. To start with, I got the spelling wrong. It's Flamin', not Flaming. There's more.
Meeting new people is one of the best parts of being out on the road. With no agenda other than photography, eating, and sleeping, it's easy and fun. Since I'm a big guy who can handle myself in most situations, I don't hesitate to meet a lot of different people. Even the ones most people try to avoid.
Some of the most unexpected things come from my newsletter readers and followers on social media. Today's essay is about a flash mob video a friend shared with me on Instagram. When I first heard about flash mobs about ten years ago, I thought anything related to a mob couldn't be good. Since then, I've learned that flash mobs are not only good. They are a ton of fun!
The record amounts of snow and rain the west coast received this past winter produced a wild-flower super bloom throughout much of the West. I was lucky to catch some of that wildflower action out in the deserts in February and March. The hills and mountains came alive this past April with blossoms, and I feared missing out.
I'm from a generation when moms stayed home to be homemakers and raise the kids. I sense I may have just stepped in something with that opening statement. Just so you know, I spent five years as a stay-at-home dad and homemaker. I know firsthand it's harder than any "job" could ever be. It's also more rewarding.
I've had my wings clipped for the past week, and for good reason. I won't make you read the entire essay for the big news. I became a grandpa over the weekend. It was exciting and quite an experience. Everyone is healthy and happy. What a relief.
The title is from a new book by Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen about how art affects our brains. When I first read the title, I couldn't help but think about the 70s-era PSA about drugs. I never bought into the idea behind the ad campaign about drug abuse. However, I can fully get behind the idea that art does good things to our brains.
This week, I would like to share more photos of churches from New Mexico with you. As a landscape photographer, I was excited by all the beautiful clouds in the sky day after day. Unfortunately, the landscape was less than photogenic.
Last week, I mentioned Santa Fe, New Mexico, as a magical place in my essay. I didn't realize how my two days in Santa Fe would affect my approach to photography and art. It's subtle, but I have a new perspective, a ground shift, if you will, and it has changed me.
I've been writing about snow recently since we don't usually get much in my neck of the woods. A friend sent me a link to an article about Graupel. I spent that afternoon going down the graupel rabbit hole
I am going to keep this week's essay short. In part because I wasn't sure what to write about. And also, it's snowing in the mountains, and I want (read "need") to photograph the fresh snow-laden forest.
My job as a photographer is to find unique and interesting subjects for my photographs. Because my genre is primarily "scapes," landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes, I spend a lot of time traveling around to find new and compelling subjects.
Regular readers of my essays will know that I recently had surgery and have been recovering. All of that is going well, and I am pretty happy with how things have worked out. I feel that coffee, or the lack of it, played a big role in how all of this has played out.
This past weekend, I helped build a house. Not a big house, but big enough, and it is a place out of the rain and wind that has been battering the west coast for several weeks now. Which is super important if you are a family of four with a baby on the way. Read on.
This week's essay is about happiness. Something we all hope to find at points in our lives, and maybe even find happiness continually. Even when we find it, I don't know if we always appreciate it for how it enriches our lives. Read on to see how I manifest contentment and how you might too.
When Christmas and New Year's land on weekends, it gives us a whole week to dial it back and go a little easier. Even for those of us who still have to show up for work, the crisis mode of Christmas was over, and life was a bit easier.
Whew, this has been quite a week of news coming from every direction. I am not a news journalist, but to ignore pressing issues in favor of my own story ideas doesn't always seem fair. I struggled with what to write about because several important stories are circulating
Recently, I've had conversations with several people about choice and how what we decide to do affects our life path. One of those conversations led to the idea of micro-choices and how each significant choice is made up of an untold number of very very small decisions that lead to what we commonly refer to as a "choice."
My wife and I were invited to see a new musical production titled "Bhangin' It.' We guessed it was Asian/Indian influenced due to the title. There was a reception before the show. While it was lovely, I found myself apologizing for not being comfortable with my social skills. I hardly knew anyone at the reception, so I dove into conversations with people around me and felt totally awkward. I guess this is a foreshadowing of what's to come. While we are eager to return to socializing and connecting with others, it may feel unnatural.
I'm ready to get back out in the world and (re)connect with people. I've been grounded at home since December of last year. Partly out of Covid caution and partly out of circumstance. The Covid caution was all about avoiding omicron, which I got anyway. Regular readers might recall, the circumstance was driven by a minor electrical fire in my trusty truck back in January. It has taken this many months to recover from that minor disaster.
Last week, I attended a conference here in my home town. I last attended this same conference in March of 2020. So yeah, it was the last conference I went to before the pandemic and the first one I attended in what seems like almost post-pandemic. I hope these two conferences really are bookends to my COVID experience. I also celebrated my birthday a few days ago with a small party that capped off the week with multiple revelations about the world we are living in now.
The biggest take-away from my sense of normalcy this past week is that people are starved for personnel, one on one connections. Me included.
I was trying to think of the best way to choose four or five images for this month's contest. I think I'll try using categories, like landscapes or flowers. So I thought it might be even better to narrow the category down to a more limited selection.
I don't know about that advice. It seems that doing something that scares you every now and again is good for the spirit and reminds you that you are still alive. But every day?
I have been contemplating deleting everything from my website and starting over for a while now. There is a lot of stuff on my website - why would I delete it all? That goes beyond scary for me. It is slightly terrifying.
I wrote that title and sub-title just to have something to work from.
You see, back in December, I had big plans for the new year. I planned to change my website, have different ideas for better marketing, dive into NFT's, and explore new places with my camera.
As I learned and figured out how to promote my photography business without using social media, I stumbled across two small and easy ideas to implement. The first was to create a signature line for my emails, letting the receiver know that I write a weekly newsletter/blog.
To recap my situation, I recently quit posting my photos on social media because I was tired of working as an unpaid content creator. Today I am again writing about marketing my photography art business without using social media.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about quitting my job as an unpaid content creator for social media. The experience has been liberating. I can again concentrate on improving my craft and creating great photos, not pumping out content to feed the instagram algorithm.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about boondocking and the people I have seen and met who live out of their cars and vans, sometimes by choice, sometimes by necessity. In part, the essay was intended to be a little more clear-eyed about how people are left out of the American dream.
I honestly don't know where to start this newsletter. A few weeks ago, on March 15th, was the last time I wrote. On the 16th, life events unfolded for the next couple of weeks. It's been a difficult couple of weeks.
Have you seen Nomadland with Frances McDormand yet? It is an Oscar contender in a lot of ways. It tells the story of the people who did all the rights things throughout life - and were left behind when retirement came.
If you follow my Instagram page, you may have seen the video I posted over the weekend about buying a new computer monitor. So I guess the secret to getting a lot of comments and messages is to purchase something ridiculously expensive
I took last week off from writing and editing photos and am behind schedule this week because of the break. I'm also behind because I got lost in editing the above photo. Typically, I might spend an hour or two working on an image to get everything just so. I'm not sure how much time I spent on that photo yesterday
Big Sur is to California like Acadia is to Maine, or the Keys are to Florida. All three are on a lot of people's bucket lists, and all three are amazingly beautiful. Oddly, all three have Route 1 as a scenic drive.
No photo today. I couldn't think of an image that would be appropriate for this week's newsletter. Also, I haven't gotten much work done since last Wednesday, and to be truthful, I fell down the news cycle rabbit hole.
A friend called last week and asked if I would be interested in joining him and a small group for a masked and socially distanced photoshoot in a field of sunflowers. Flowers are a genre that I have been exploring this year since they are readily available, look pleasing, and aren't contagious.
Travel is on most people's minds this week. If not because we are planning to do it, but also because we are being warned not to travel. Going places is part of what keeps life interesting. And connecting with friends and family is a way to fill our emotional bank account.
While I was doing all this reading, one theme kept occurring again and again. It was the simplest way to gain or maintain a positive attitude, and it took less than thirty seconds a day to achieve. It is the physical and mental act of writing down one thing you are grateful for on that day.
The photo above is not how I remember drive-in theaters from back in the '70s. The "Drive-In" is an art installation in Bombay Beach, California. Half of the town is made up of abandoned houses and buildings that are now art installations of one sort or another.
Last March, the decision was made to suspend operations at the non-profit I volunteer for due to, what else, COVID. This non-profit, Casas de Luz, is one of those "bigger than one-person" kind of organizations.
Flying is not required to take an international journey from the United States. A quick and easy walk or drive across the border to Mexico takes you to a different world. And the differences are stark and drastic. The language is different, the food is different, and the neighborhoods are different. But with time you realize there are some similarities. Read more to find out how we are so much alike.
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