I have no idea what was the occasion, but there was lots of smiling going on and that always attracts me. Also, the sound of mariachi music is a big draw, as well. The combination, for me, is irresistible.
A few weeks ago, National Geographic announced the launch of their blog, Proof. Proof is a blog featuring one of their photographers, every day. The photographer will make a short video, or perhaps write a short article about a certain aspect of their photography work.
I shoot 30,000 or more pictures per year and out of those, maybe 3 or 4 of those are keepers … but those 3 or 4, they’re pretty good! … You’re by yourself all the time; it’s very lonely … you come up with fancy excuses as to why you missed your kid’s birthday, excuses that mean nothing at all to them. Why do we do it? Because we’re saving the earth, and all that is in it.
I started admiring the work of National Geographic photographers, I think, long before I picked up a camera. I remember that they had copies of them in my elementary school. By flipping through the pages, I could visit far away lands, meet different people, learn of their stories – my window on the world, so grand, from the comfort and safety of my school library.
Further, I remember thinking how cool, much later on after I had picked up a camera, that it would be to be an NG photographer. It was a dream, perhaps just a wish, for certainly, a dream without work is simply a wish, and I didn’t really work to find out the ins and outs of how to be that guy. Now, with so much information freely available, it’s much easier to find out how, but the work certainly needs to be done.
Later, and also in a couple of these videos, I saw that it is not a glamorous life. Sure, the pictures are stunning, but the truth of it, as some NG photographers put it, it’s a lonely life, full of missed birthdays, anniversaries, and important dates. You have to really be committed to being an NG photographer, willing to brave certain nearly inhospitable conditions for months on end, perhaps, years.
At any rate, it is fantastic to look at their photos, hear their opinions, and enjoy the fruits of their labors. Certainly, the photos that grace the magazine and the blog are ‘best of show’, the highlights, but it still fascinates me to immerse myself into their stories and photos. Perhaps that is why I still have that wanderlust, going from place to place.
Last week when I was in Beaufort, SC, I awoke early Sunday morning with plans to return to the beach for more photos. That didn’t work out exactly. On the way down the only road to the beach, there was an accident. The police had the eastbound lanes blocked and weren’t letting anyone through. As I looked toward the east, I saw the sky starting to lighten. I’d been waiting for about 15 minutes and figured that I had waited for the wreck to clear for about 20 minutes and that I still had another 20 or 30 minutes to go to reach the beach.
OK. Plan B it is! What exactly was that? I was prepared to turn tail and head back to Charlotte, take some pictures along the way, perhaps. Not exactly a ‘solid’ plan. Just a couple of miles down the road, I noticed a boat launch … with the floating dock where I used my tripod, if you remember.
I played around here for a bit, watching the light change, trying to capture a dolphin breaking the surface of the water, but he was a bit too random for me to record. Eventually, a young lady out on a walk/jog with her dog came down to the dock and said hello. She walked to the edge of the dock, got out her camera, took a few pictures.
I noticed the sun shining across the dock, thought that it might make a nice picture as she walked through the light with her dog. I waited. Bingo! The dog cooperated, too, with just the right amount of spacing.
Sometimes, Plan B is the way to go!
This was my first trip to Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort, SC and it was kind of on a whim. I was having lunch with a friend of mine and he showed me a few pictures of him and his family at the beach. He mentioned that it was nice and that it had a lighthouse, too. Who could ask for more? After I got home from having lunch, I found an inexpensive hotel, made reservations, and went down on Friday afternoon. Bueno! I got there late on Friday, after dark, so couldn’t have a quick look and make a plan. That’s OK, I thought. I’ll wing it and that’s what I did.
I got up early, around 5-ish, and drove the 20 miles to the park. It took about 30 minutes, or so. I arrived at 6:00 A.M. and it was plenty dark. Thankfully, I had never told Tony that I had a flashlight in my camera bag, so I still had a flashlight in my camera bag. LOL! I took it out, found the boardwalk, and walked to the beach. It was pretty dark with nothing but the Orion constellation to light the way, and my trusty flashlight.
I got to the beach, headed north, and discovered a bunch of dead trees. Jackpot! I figured that I’d frame the sunrise with a few of them. I tried a few of my lenses on, doing time exposures of the water and rocks, etc, waiting for the sunrise. Eventually, it clouded up, but the light levels were rising rapidly. I quickly gave up on the sunrise, switched to my handy 11-18 mm lens, which is a DX lens. Oh well, it would have to do. Sure, I’ll only get 6 MP files, but those are just fine, so that’s what I did.
I had a great time using the distortion of the lens to my full advantage. There were several other people out there, cameras, and iPads in hand, but they weren’t taking many photos because the sun didn’t make a grand appearance, but that didn’t bother me in the least as there sure were some interesting trees.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it back to the beach on Sunday morning. An accident on the road heading to the beach had it blocked, so I had to go with Plan B, but that’s a topic for the next post.
Sometime last year, while visiting my friend Richard, we were watching The Travel Channel. There was a show on: The Best Sandwich in America. Each week, from what I understand, 3 sandwiches are picked and the best of the three, moves on to be in the finals, or something like that. I wasn’t paying that much attention. One of the sandwiches that he tried was The Chicken Conquistador. He mentioned that it was from a little restaurant in Savannah, GA called Zunzi’s Express. I made a mental note that since Savannah was only 4-1/2 hours from my house, I’d have to try it one day. That day was Saturday.
I had gone to Beaufort, SC to Hunting Island State Park to take some pictures. I just wanted to have a weekend to do nothing but take a few photos, be alone on the beach, and enjoy photography. I hadn’t done that in a while. After I went to the beach on Saturday morning, I had the whole of the day to do whatever. I decided that since Savannah was now only 55 minutes away, it was worth the trip.
When I got to Savannah, it was true to form as a southern city near the water. It was hot and steamy. I found Zunzi’s in short order and with minimal sweat. Zunzi’s is not exactly what you would call a restaurant. It’s more like a lunch counter with some friendly folks working there, serving up delicious sandwiches. I ordered my Conquistador, though I was sorely tempted to order The Godfather, which is the same sandwich with Italian sausage, marinara, and parmesan cheese added! However, I didn’t because I wanted to taste what I’d seen on TV.
After I got my sandwich, I went around the building, sat at one of the outdoor tables, did the dutiful photographer thing and took a picture. It was delicious. Just the right amount of sauce, a generous helping of chicken, fresh bread, and delicious veggies! At the table next to me were two younger girls, probably in their mid teens. One was enjoying a falafel, the other a hamburger. A friend of theirs, a boy about the same age, came up and remarked:
Oh my god!!! You came to Zunzi’s and got a hamburger! Seriously! Tell me that you didn’t get a hamburger!!!
She only replied: Well, it tastes really good!
I’m sure that it was, but I’m glad that I didn’t get a burger! This was certainly worth the visit … I will, however, have to return for The Godfather, of this I’m sure! This experience was much better than my Pittsburgh sandwich experience.
Probably like many of my fellow bloggers, there are thousands of photos that I’ve not posted on the blog. Some of them I have posted in my Smugmug account, such as the one featured here, but have not used in a post. I thought, surely I’ve used this one, but in going back through the blog archives, since March of this year, no I’ve not used it (It does rotate through on my header, though, every once in a while).
It’s absolutely one of my favorites that I took while in San Miguel. To make it even better, I took this ‘on the fly’ as I was walking up the hill. I noticed the kids and the elderly lady walking down the sidewalk. Immediately, I knew that I’d like it. I paused, shot from waist level, about 3 frames. All of them needed some minor adjustments to the horizon, so to speak, but this was my favorite. I’ve actually printed this and hung it on the wall in my living room. I look at it often.
There are so many from Mexico that I like. I’m planning to head back, as I mentioned, a couple of more times – to dig deeper.
Anyway, it’s nice digging through the archives and pulling a few pictures from there, even though I don’t have much to say these days.
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
Every once in a while, I feel the need to take a retreat. This usually happens after lots of activity, like travel, work, Spanish classes, day-to-day – particularly when I haven’t taken time to do much photography, just for the sake of photography – photography only. What I mean by that is doing photography simply for the joy of it, getting up at 4:30 AM, heading out, waiting for sunrise, welcoming in the morning. I have been utilizing those early mornings to go walking. I enjoy the light during my walk, take a few photos with the iPhone, and continue on. It’s kind of an either/or proposition. The evenings have been reserved for Tai Chi, and/or Spanish, though I find my interest in Tai Chi waning a bit, but that’s another story. The weekends, catching up on things that I may have missed out on, or perhaps spending time with Vanessa. A full life, to be sure.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of photography, mostly with my iPhone, as I’m doing other things such as walking around town, in the case of this photo, downtown Akron; however, I really miss getting up early. I think that perhaps this weekend, I might head towards The Blue Ridge Parkway, spend the night, get up early in the morning and head to Linville Falls, or perhaps Catawba Falls, a couple of places that I’ve yet to photograph, but really want to. With all of the rain that we’ve been having, the falls should be quite a sight, though Catawba falls may be inaccessible because you have to cross the river to get to the falls and it might be a bit flooded. Linville Falls, however, my be a different story. We’ll see.
I really enjoy writing, but feel that I’ve not had much to write about without repeating myself. Hopefully this mini-retreat will spawn some ideas and restore my ‘song’. However, I am still encouraged/inspired by those bloggers who keep plugging along, day after day with something good to say. I often find myself thinking: I wish that I would have thought of that!