Barriers

It was a choice she never wanted to make. In fact, choice wasn’t really the word for it. She had to do it. No-one in their right mind would give up a family, home, lifetime of work, a successful career as an engineer and a middle class job.  Unless they had no choice.

She thought back to the ones she had left behind, lost forever to the incessant bombardment. For what? A few square feet of a town that had been raised from the desert over a period of two thousand years, and now razed to rubble and would soon become sand again. That was why she had left. She had no-one left to save but herself.

How ironic that she was now standing on sand again, although this time with the sea foaming between her toes.

She looked up at the fence. So this was what salvation looked like?

170719_Barriers

~Richard

A Day for Reflection and Remembrance

A lot has happened this week. A seismic shock has been sent through the world as a brash, bigoted, businessman has blustered and blundered his way to the top of the totem pole. We have a new US President-Elect: Donald Trump.

As many of us who did not support him wring our hands and worry about our uncertain future I want to take a tiny piece of time to contemplate those who have given their lives, limbs or sanity on our behalf over the years to allow us the freedom to make our choices.

In the UK we always stopped work at 11:00 am on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month for two minutes of silent remembrance of the Armistice Day, as it was also known. Places of work, school, shopping areas and even the TV and radio would be silenced for 120 seconds of stillness and a show of unity.

This is not something that is observed in my adopted homeland, but I was moved to hear reference to the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of eleventh month at our local Veteran’s Day Parade in town last Sunday.

Today, I personally observed this moment of introspection and reflection in my office. I had a business meeting at 11:00 and told them I would be at least two minutes late attending in order to observe Remembrance Day.

This year it seemed particularly important to do so.

Never have we needed two minutes of stillness more than now.

11001102

~Richard

6 sentence story – Done Fishin’

It had been a hot day, all day long, and the kids had enjoyed playing on the floating dock and catching fish. Now they were tired and had been tucked up in bed with their dreams of the big ones that got away. Tomorrow would be a new adventure, as it always was for the youngsters.

As the old man looked at the forgotten net, lit by the fading sun, he recalled his own childhood adventures. They were a lifetime and a continent away. Yet reassuringly similar.

160804_DoneFishing
~Richard

Urban(e) Art?

As a biologist I have an affinity for the so-called natural world and the beauty of nature but, having said that, there is also a lot of unseen beauty in many mundane areas of our industrialized world. One aspect that I like to explore photographically when taking a trip to our cities, is that of reflection in our glass superstructures.

This was taken in Manhattan from my hotel window and there is a wonderful mix of  the perfect straight lines and the waviness of the reflections in the not-so-perfect glass windows.

160617_UrbaneArt

~Richard

Holding a Mirror to the World

Today was meant to be a blog entry on politics per my schedule, but to be honest I’m sick of politics at the moment and a lot of my posts have already covered that topic over the last few weeks. So today I took advantage of a break in the rain and, as we had what ended up being a brief bit of late afternoon sunshine, I ventured outside for some photographic therapy. Several weeks ago I purchased a 10” x 8” mirror from the dollar store in the hope of using this to make some interesting compositions. I had left in in the trunk of my car and there it had languished. Today, I finally  decided to start on this project, especially as I just found out that May is National Photography Month (NaPhoMo). I began by removing the plastic frame from the mirror so that it had no defined edge and would be able to blend into the background for a better optical effect. Unfortunately this also meant the cheap card backing was detached too, so I had to cover the back of the mirror with duck tape to protect it from being scratched*. Five minutes later with prop in hand I started playing around in the garden.

No sooner had I placed the mirror down then one of our hens came over for a look. I thought she might be frightened, or angry but she simply regarded the bird in the mirror, was mildly confused when she looked over the top and then wandered off looking for bugs (good girl).

160507_MirrorHen

I think this may turn into a longer term project as it had loads of possibilities, even though the mirror is far from perfect…

160507_MirrorTree

*although this may too be an interesting effect

~Richard

Surface Thoughts

160417_SurfaceThoughts

More fleeting than white horses

that rush in the foam,

these sparkling diamonds  

dance lightly on wavelets;

a brief but dazzling reflection

of our home star,

their fluttering white brightness

skates untroubled across rippling surface,

paths shaped by ephemeral  winds.

Like transient thoughts

they twinkle

when exposed.

No two moments the same.

~Richard

52-week Challenge: week 12

WEEK 12: Artistic: Transportation – Our world is one defined by how we get around. Literal or interpretative, find inspiration in transportation.

I had too many ideas for this one; cars, trains, bicycles, buses, perhaps even an Amish carriage, if I were to travel west a few dozen miles.  I mean, how can so much choice be a problem, right?

Well, it can because the issue then becomes one of creative overload, at least in my case. Yes, I need to focus (pun intended) on what I actually want to achieve with this assignment.

So, a day or two to think and then here we go:

Idea 1: Panning cars traveling on the highway to give a blurred background. It didn’t happen.

Idea 2: An arty shot of an AMTRAK train or the SEPTA regional railway, maybe in black and white. It didn’t happen.  

Idea 3: A bustling street scene in the center of town, or a commuter ride showing traffic congestion. It didn’t happen.

Idea 4: Cyclists – there’s always several of these guys on the back roads at the weekend. That one didn’t even start!

Grr, what’s going on?

Then, on the Monday morning drive to work, an epiphany: the American school bus – it’s so obvious!

As an immigrant from England the yellow school bus is as much an internationally known icon of US society as the red double-decker bus is quintessentially British. It instantly identifies any scene as being American. I would venture more so even than a slice of mom’s apple pie cooling on the window sill…

… and I know where they park a lot of them 🙂

160324-SchoolBusMirror

Oh, and there’s a backstory to this as well – I will share that on tomorrow’s post

~Richard

52-week Challenge: week 11

WEEK 11: Landscape: Reflection – Find a way to show your landscape/natural beauty in reflection. The mirror world revealed.

I had contemplated this assignment ahead of time and even went to the dollar store to get a mirror for inspiration. Nah, I thought that would be too cheesy. Then I considered perhaps a reflection of the countryside in a pair of sunglasses, but that would require a willing model! My next brainwave came when one of my daughters decided she needed a ride to the shopping mall – use the car window to get a reflection of an urban landscape – brilliant!

Of course, things never work out quite that way, do they? Rather than dropping off my daughter and her friend I was told I could pick them up instead. This is always the worst of the two standard unpaid “Uber” roles for a parent as there’s no definitive meeting time or place. Ho hum, thinks I, I can still do this as I’ll get there a little early and take time to position the car for its job as photographic canvas.

I hadn’t anticipated how full the parking lot would be, nor the rain.

As I was driving around searching for a place I thought to reverse park in one space at the edge of the lot. This way I would be able to use my driving mirrors to get a shot across the road and modify my original idea.

As I did so, I saw the reflection of a this guy across the street begging money from cars at the stop signal. The light was fading fast and he was there only for a few minutes, presumably after a long day. The irony of the red and blue umbrella and the stars and stripes hanging limply nearby was not lost on me – a reflection of humanity in the world’s richest nation, perhaps?

160314_Reflection

~Richard

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