Art, Comment, Digital Image, Nature, photography, trees

End of the Season

Photograph of a Maple Tree in December with only a few leaves left hanging on skeletal branches.

This sunset photo looking skyward at a lone tree is a bit of a cliché, but still, filled with symbolism for the end of the year 2020. We can all hope for a sunrise on a New Year promising an end to the pandemic, a burgeoning economy, healthcare for everyone and reasonably priced education that every student can afford without sustaining overwhelmingly burdensome debt.

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Comment, Digital Image, Gulf of Mexico, isolation, Outdoors, Photojournalism, Seasons, Travel

Dreary Sign of the Times

Portable sign at the edge of a highway with notification that all beaches on the Gulf Coast are closed.Not a terribly scenic photo, but it is a sign of horrible economic times in south Alabama. All Gulf Coast beaches have been closed since March 27. Most businesses have closed and tourist rentals stand vacant. There were no spring breakers, no Snowbirds and the Hangout music festival has been cancelled. This portable sign sits at the edge of the Foley Beach Express about ten miles north of the Gulf of Mexico beaches at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

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Art, Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, forest, Landscape, Nature, Outdoors, photography, Seasons, trees, Weather

October Light

Warm October light illuminating a fence, trees and a small utility trailer.

(Click on photo to see a larger image.)

Light in October is different than in June or February. The trees, the fence, the little trailer; they all plead, beg…like me…to hold on to the warmth even after the sun goes down. There’s no need for begging in June – the warmth will hold on. In February, there’s just no point in begging. But in October, in the deep south, leaves are still mostly green, the light is warm in every sense, but after the sun drops below the horizon…

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Abstract, Art, Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, Landscape, Nature, ocean, photography

Uncertainty

Photograph of flat water of Mobile Bay covered by a distant fog.

Click on the photo to see a larger image.

…Then what should we work for?

Only this: proper understanding, unselfish action; truthful speech. A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, flowing like water from that same source and spring.

Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations” translated by Gregory Hays

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Art, Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, Gulf of Mexico, Landscape, Nature, ocean, Photojournalism, Seasons, Travel, Weather

Winter on the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico beach near Fort Morgan, Alabama.

Fort Morgan, Alabama – Mid-day, the end of January. It’s cold, but calm. People come down to the beach for their morning walks, to collect seashells or driftwood, perhaps. Two men at the far right, near the horizon, were fishing from beach chairs while a Great Blue Heron closely monitored their activity.

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Art, Comment, Digital Image, History, nostalgia, Outdoor Sports, photography, Studio Photography, Writing

Revolver

A .357 magnum revolver in a leather holster with a belt of cartridges.I remember hunting whitetail deer with this .357 magnum many, many years ago. After two seasons of sitting in the snow, getting cold, bored and never seeing anything to shoot at, I gave up. Deer hunting was one of the least interesting activities in which I have ever engaged.  Retrospectly, I’m glad I never had the opportunity to kill a deer. While I’ve shot squirrels, rabbits, partridge and a few other small game animals, I never derived any great pleasure or satisfaction from the killing sports. On the other hand, I do remember some fine meals of rabbit stew, roasted partridge, and pheasant pie.

I still keep a collection of firearms, and even fire them occasionally – rarely, but only at paper targets. The cartridges in this holster belt have somewhat corroded and have over the years, undoubtedly, lost some of their explosive power. Soon, I will take them out, polish them up and replace them in those same loops, maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, the guns sit in a cabinet holding on to memories of times long past.

 

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Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, Humor, Nightmares, photography, Short Story, Weather, Writing

Neighborhood

Dark, foggy night in an apartment complex.Thick fog muffled outdoor sounds in the late night. No one heard the wrecker pull in and park behind the Mercedes sedan. The operator worked quickly, quietly. He jacked up the car, removed the mag alloy wheels, set the car down on cement blocks, and silently drove away.

The following day, a neighbor came home for lunch; saw the expensive, violated car sitting on blocks, knocked on his neighbors door and wondered whether anyone noticed the theft of their neighbors wheels. “What kind of neighborhood are we living in that something like this could happen?” It was near noon. He knocked on the owner’s door. She was shocked, but not entirely surprised to see her car sitting as it was.

Several months earlier, she financed the expensive wheels and tires, but failed to make payments. After many unsuccessful attempts to collect, the finance company repossessed their property.

The car owner shrugged her shoulders, “I didn’t make my payments, so they came and got ‘em. I’m getting them back, I just have to go down and make a payment.”

Dark nights still bring in thick fog, the atmosphere is still eerily quiet, and there is no vigilante group to keep watch for furtive thieves. The Mercedes owner has her wheels back and all is as it should be in the Deep South neighborhood.

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Art, Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, Journalism, Landscape, Nature, Outdoors, photography, rivers, Travel, Weather, Work, Writing

Abandoned

Photo of derelict boats tied up along the Bon Secour River in southern Alabama, USA.

Abandoned cabin cruiser sits in front of a derelict shrimp boat. Both have been abandoned for several years.

Along the Bon Secour River, which flows into Mobile Bay in southern Alabama, there is a large fleet of deserted shrimp boats. Some are huge, some rather small, but they all have been abandoned. Hurricanes or tropical storms have severly damaged most of them. Speculation is that they are too damaged to repair (repairs will cost more than the boat is worth). Other possible reasons are that the shrimp fishery is too depleted and competition too intense, the boats have paid for themselves and owners are no longer interested in the grueling work of shrimping, but then who knows.

Regardless, The Alabama Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Fund, established June 2018 and managed by the Secretary of the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency, is for payment of the seizure, removal, transportation, preservation, storage, advertisement, appraisal, and disposal of a derelict vessel. Effective June 1, 2018 Act 2018-179 relating to derelict and abandoned vessels, authorizes the removal of a vessel from the waters of Alabama under certain conditions by a law enforcement officer or a private property owner.  Previously, a property owner was responsible for legal fees, and litigation required to remove a derelict vessel from his dock. The costs were prohibitive.

Cracked and peeling paint, mold, and slime shows the typical condition of the abandoned fleet.

Beyond repair, a small, abandoned shrimp boat sits moored to a crumbling dock on the Bon Secour River.

A smaller derelict craft lists to one side, tied to a crumbling dock.

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Comment, Digital Image, Humor, Journalism, Landscape, Nature, Photojournalism, Weather, Writing

Disaster Strikes near Richmond

Photo of a downed utility pole lying on the lawn of farm just west of Richmond, Illinois

Downed utility pole lies on the lawn of farm just west of Richmond, Illinois

Lightening struck and knocked down a utility pole during the late evening hours Tuesday causing widespread power outage to a farm just west of Richmond, Illinois. Richmond is a small town about 70 miles northwest of Chicago.

Both lanes of Illinois route 173 were closed nearly three hours while a utility crew cleared downed power lines. Early morning traffic was backed up nearly an eighth of a mile in either direction. As of 2:30 this afternoon power still has not been restored to the affected farm, although crews are on site working to repair the damage.

As a result of this disastrous electrical outage residents on the farm have been deprived of highly informative radio and TV political advertising campaigns more than 12 hours, just days before the critical mid-term elections. This is not “Fake News,” however, despite the far reaching implications of this natural disaster; the white house thus far has failed to respond.

Residents of the farm have returned to their fields to resume the fall harvest and have been unavailable for comment.

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Abstract, Art, Comment, Digital Image, Dreams, isolation, Nature, Nightmares, ocean, philosophy, photography, Photoshop, Poetry, Writing

A Timeline

Abstract photo of ocean waves with night clouds.

Primordial Ooze
Life Forms Evolve
Opposable Thumbs
Competition
Greed, Power, Money
Godot Defined for one species
Knowledge Quest
War Machines
Silicon Chips
Artificial Intelligence
Knowledge Shared Among Machines
Opposable Thumbs Irrelevant
Artificial Intelligence Evolves
Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication
Godot Redefined
Higher Knowledge Unnecessary
Life Forms Irrelevant
Silicon Chips Disintegrate
Primordial Ooze

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Art, Blossoms, Comment, Digital Image, Everyday, Flowers, Landscape, Nature, photography, Seasons, trees, Weather, wildflowers

Summer’s Gone

A field of wildflowers gone to seed.

Wildflowers have mostly gone to seed and the brilliant, lush greens of summer have given way to the dusty, drab greens and browns of early autumn. How did this happen so quickly? June was just yesterday – wasn’t it?

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Comment, Everyday, Landscape, Nature, Outdoors, Photojournalism, Town, Travel, Weather

The Montague Flood – 2018

Standing water surrounding an ice cream shop in Montague, Michigan.

Standing water in Montague, Michigan after several days of heavy August rain.

After several days of heavy rain, Twisters Ice Cream shop in Montague is bounded by standing water to the south across the bicycle trail.

Butternut Creek rises with the rain, but quickly drains into the White River, which empties into White Lake. The water level in the Lake is 3 to 4 feet higher than it was two years ago. The beach on Lake Michigan, about 7 miles to the west, is almost non-existent.

Evidence of flooding on Butternut Creek in Montague, Michigan.

Buttermilk Creek in Montague, Michigan. Although the water has receded significantly, it is still much above its normal level.

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Art, Comment, Digital Image, forest, Landscape, Nature, Outdoors, photography, rivers, Seasons, Weather

The White River

A summer view of the White River near Hesperia, Michigan, USA.

A place on the White River near Hesperia, Michigan, just upstream from the M-20 Bridge; it’s an easy place to get in the water and looks as if there would be lots of trout, but I’ve never done very well here. The well-worn path through the woods indicates that more than a few fishermen wade this stream. Maybe they’ve already taken all the trout.

Another side of the story is that it’s a quiet, beautiful place to spend a summer afternoon just being.

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