Saturday, April 14, 2018

Project 365 - April 14, 2018

A New Chapter

Sometimes we all need time to think about our passions. So, I took a very long break from my two Nikon cameras, my passion for the past decade. But today, perhaps, I have begun a new chapter.

Since I last took a serious photo, so much has transpired. First of all, I turned 60. That was quite a wake-up call. Second, not only did I retire from my 35-year public service career, but I began, not only one, but a second new job over the past two years, and soon to be a third. Not sure where my feet will land over the next few weeks to months, but the ride is sure an interesting one!

 Third, my first-born married the love of her life and is happily starting her life. Ok, so it is in another state, but we talk on a daily basis either on my way to work or on the way home.  And there is "No Noah" Wednesday when her husband is rehearsing with the orchestra. Those evenings we usually Skype and have dinner together! I love technology.

And, in a few weeks, my younger daughter will be graduating from college. She still lives at home, but we barely see her. Maybe once or twice a week. So, we do know what it is like to be an empty next. But not quite there yet. Not in a hurry at all. 

Today, after sleeping late, going on a "cleaning out the refrigerator" binge, sitting and watching two Star Wars movies in a row and then going to the gym and running 2.5 miles, I was inspired to pick up my camera.

A bit rusty, I fell in love all over again with the sound of the clicking as I wandered through the neighborhood to see what I could capture. Then after dinner, sorting through the images and using just a touch of Photoshop. These are the result.

Now I have to find that inspiration more often but on my terms.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Project 365 - April 10, 2010 - Part II

The 2010 Delray Affair

So, after our peaceful breakfast, we drove up to Delray Beach with our friends, Richard and Lynn to go to the Delray Affair . . . it is an arts and crafts festival that is now in its 48th year.

It was a huge event, and the entire street was closed to traffic and there was booth after booth of fun artsy stuff to look at. I, of course, am always more interested in the people attending and their reactions.

This first photo was taken by Joel on his cell phone. It is Lynn's hand during a very odd sound therapy session that we all took turns at. This guy places large brass bowls on your chest, near your crotch and near your feet and makes them vibrate and make resonating sounds and it goes through you and really relaxes you. It was weird and cool at the same time. I felt like I had taken a step into the 60s and was surrounded by California hippies! I was so relaxed that I had to sit in a chair to gather myself before I could walk again!

In the same booth was another woman doing yoga and relaxation with an instructor. Her dog was totally into the relaxation too. I had a giggle at this one.

This cute guy was so content in just hanging around in this baby carrier. I had seen him earlier and he looked scared and stressed, but not here!

Some people

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Project 365 - December 29, 2015

Change is Coming

Marilyn and Howie

It is all around me.  I can feel it. 

Change, it is inevitable. From the day we are born there is change. Not only are our bodies changing on a daily basis, whether it is developing and growing when we are children or healing when we are sick or injured, but everything around us changes on a daily basis.

Sometimes these changes come in batches. That is what I am feeling today. The New Year is almost here. 2016, it will be the year that I retire from Broward County government after 35 years of public service.  Although I moved from job to job throughout my 35 years, I have only ever worked in my professional career for Broward County. It is a scary move, but also a point in my life where I can do what I am most passionate about.

So as that May 31 date hovers in the near future, there are other changes.

Joel finally landed a job that he is  passionate about in the creative industries. He started two weeks ago and I have never seen him more content, more satisfied and comfortable. I am thankful and very happy for him. It has been a long road, but I believe this has only made him more appreciative for where he is today.

Adina is home once again. Midway through her junior year at Indiana State University, she has made a very tough decision to transfer to a Florida university.  She will take all of her remaining general education classes at Broward College in January and then transfer to Florida Atlantic University in the fall to finish her Forensic Anthropology major.

Rachel is now handling 19 malls throughout the country through her job at Goodman PR.  She is now coming to understand the significance of the responsibilities that have been given to her.  At 25 (in a few days), she has acheived so much in this position.

In addition to this job, Rachel has created a small business for herself.  She hand-paints designs on white mugs and has been selling them on  She surprised herself with the quantity of orders she has already received.

I am about to embark on a freelance public relations job for a company that handles the various needs of condominium and homeowners associations. That will keep me very busy on nights and weekends after the holidays are over.  HOpefully this will develop into a larger job and/or more freelance jobs after I retire.  I anticipated that this might happen and that I might find some arts consulting jobs so I created an LLC for myself, Out of the Box Creative Communications LLC. 

And the biggest and saddest change of all came last night.  We all knew it was inevitable, but no matter how much you try to prepare, you are never ready when the call comes.

My uncle Howie has been ill for so very long.  Many different ailments and complications that stemmed from his prostate cancer, glaucoma and kidney failure.  We all knew, as he did, that his time was limited.  He was a trooper over the six years that he battled these challenges.  He did so with bravery, humor and love. He spent all of his time with Aunt Marilyn who in turn, cared for him with such detail that sometimes he told her off!  With love of course.

I do believe that he waited until Hal, his son, my cousin, flew down, held his hand and told him that he loved him.  I watched my uncle's eyelids flutter as both Hal and I laid our hands on his shoulders and told him that we were with him and we were all going to be okay and we would take care of Marilyn. He never woke up, but seemed to settle back on the pillow and relax. That was about 2:30 pm.

At 7:30 pm as we were all sitting around our dining room table eating Chinese food, the call came. We were just talking about Howie and telling our best memories when that phone rang.  We all knew.  A hot pain went through my body and laid my fork on the dinner plate. Memories of that moment when I knew my mom was gone flooded back. It was a familiar feeling. Not terrible, but sad nonetheless. 

I knew that we had to get the word to my cousin Roni who is in India on a month-long Yoga retreat.  So I went onto Facebook and sent her a cryptic private message to call me, now.  She did and I handed the phone to Hal. 

The rest of the evening was spent spilling a few tears, talking about the weird coincidences and more of our memories of Howie.

Changes.  They will always come and we need to be like a branch in the wind and bend or else we will break.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Project 365 - March 8, 2015

Playing with a Lens

Every once in a while, I borrow a lens to see what it is like and how it is different from the ones I own.  This lens is a 50 mm Nikkor lens.  It is a manual focus, which provides a challenge, but that is okay.  I like a challenge.

So naturally, I use whatever subjects are available to me.  Today, it was Newton!  Or Noot as my daughter now likes to call him!!

Noot is a great subject since all he does all day is eat and sleep!  He was lazily napping on our dining room table.  Lots of natural lighting for me to play with.  This was taken on manual everything at 400 ISO and 2.8 aperture.  I love the amount of detail in the fur and the whiskers.

Then I decided to step outside and see what my flowers would look like with this lens.

I love the shallow depth of field.  I think I moved the aperture to 2.0 here.  I sat on the ground and focused by moving my body closer or further away to get just the one flower in focus.  The colors are a bit weird on the leaves.  Not sure why they look purple.  

 Then I took the last photo of this new marigold that just started to grow at the base of my avocado plant.  Supposedly the marigolds keep spiders away.  So far, no, but I keep trying!!

So a short lesson on photography today.  Best to just pick up the camera and use it!  It has been a long time.

Project 365 - January 14, 2015

A Little Leftover Christmas

I haven't visited this blog in a very long time.  But I was outside doing my wandering thing with my camera.  As I walked out the front door, I immediately giggled when I saw that Joel and I had forgotten to remove the penguins!  Yes, there is a bit of Christmas still at the Hills of Inverrary!

I guess these guys just got away from us!  So perhaps we will leave them out a little longer!!  No one has said anything.  Usually we get a letter if we do something against the condo rules.  But not this time.  Maybe these are nondenominational penguins!!

I kept walking.  I have a usual pattern, where I walk between two homes across the street and then down near the lake.  There I usually find some birds or bugs that capture my attention.

I like when the sun is setting. It is much more challenging to take the photos in a darkening situation. So these birds were flying by me and I played with the settings and tried to capture them the best that I could.I love the colors of the reflections.  

And then there are these birds.  Someday I will look up the species.  Until I do, I will just continue to call them the "monkey birds" because they sound like the monkeys in the Wizard of Oz!  I love when the sun illuminates their perch and especially their beaks.  The bright orange certainly stands out in nature!!  I could watch these guys for hours.

And then, of course, I always looks for something in bloom.  This was in front of Jackie Gleason's former residence.  There were so many of these flowers blooming on this tree.  This was the last of my light.  So after I snapped this one, I headed back to the house.  I really haven't done much of this type of photography lately since I took up running 5K races. I always feel like have to keep moving and not with a camera in my hand.  But this day, I just made the time.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Project 365 - December 8, 2013

What I Find on the Corner

I never know what I will see when I am driving.  I know that I am in a place where surprises exists on each street corner in major urban areas.  However, I don't always expect to see these surprises as I am driving in the western areas of Broward County, typically called a bedroom community by our urban planners.

But as I stopped for a red light on Friday, when I was really in a grand rush to get somewhere, I had no choice but stop and wait for the light to turn green at the corner of University Dr. and Oakland Park Blvd. because there is one of those Red Light Cameras that would welcome the image of my license plate in order to immediately transport the information to the City of Sunrise so that within about five days there would be one of those envelopes in my mailbox, you know the type, fold here and here and here and then tear off those little strips of paper so that you can open up the flaps of paper to find, yes, to find that violation that costs a lot of money.  So, yes, I stopped and took a deep breath, turned to my left and saw this person.

Ok, so there are homeless people on every corner in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  I am used to that.  In fact, I am so oblivious to the vast numbers of homeless people that I don't even pay attention much.  Please, don't call me callous, I do feel badly for the newly homeless, the people who really need a helping hand.  There are agencies throughout the country that are available to assist these folks.  There are social service organizations, faith-based organizations and more.  These folks are the ones that want assistance and when the hand is extended the hand is usually accepted.  But then there are the folks that are emotionally and mentally incapable of helping themselves or to recognize that help is available and they just aimlessly move through our streets, almost like ghosts in the daylight.  I feel for these folks as well, but as soon as they are helped, the vast majority are back on the streets because they have trouble with reality and our social system really doesn't' have a good method of sustaining this type of assistance.  But then there are the folks that truly do not want the help.  These are folks that I see in the building where I work.  I recognize their faces.  They just don't want help and they are capable of understanding that there is help.  They just choose to continue this lifestyle.    I have always said that there are three, and perhaps more, levels of homelessness.

But on Friday, I was sure that this person did not fit into any of these homeless categories.  This was someone who had a message to share with the world.  So of course, I grabbed my phone, didn't have the DSLR camera at the time, and snapped as many images that I could until the light turned green.  I wasn't  sure of the quality or if I had even captured what I was seeing.

Not only was he carrying a puppet of some sort so it looked as though he could break out into ventriloquism at any given moment, but also carried this huge sign on his back and an umbrella for shade since it was a typical sunny and hot afternoon in South Florida.

Later in the day when I was showing these to Rachel, we tried to read the sign and make some sense of it.  Not sure that there is a point, but nonetheless, I found this to be one of my more interesting characters.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project 365 - October 19, 2013

Gold Coast Railway Museum

The Level IV Photographers took a field trip to the Gold Coast Railway Museum.  I would have carpooled with someone, but since I needed to be somewhere with my family at 7 pm, I figured I better drive by myself.  So I situated myself with my phone plugged in, with Google Maps navigating the way, my Beatles tunes blaring and a bottle of water for the road.  Good thing for that bottle of water.  It was so hot and humid at the musuem, I went through two bottles and poured another over my head to keep cool!
The museum has been there since right after World War II.  Originally there were dirigibles in a huge hanger there -- six of them -- that would fly over the ocean seeking U-boats.  It makes you think . . . it wasn't all that long ago when that war took place.  True, it was before I was born, but only 10 years before I was born. Not really ancient history.

But then it was turned into a museum of rail cars.  There were streamlined cars from the 1940s and a fancy schmancy one that was used by many of our presidents, including Truman when he held up the newspaper that announced that Dewey won!!  There were cabooses and military hospital cars.  And, you could walk into most of them.

I was most intrigued by the remnants of buildings against the color of the sky.  I have another series of black and whites images but I am saving them for a potential exhibition.