My goal was to capture the vernal equinox sunset. Instead, I came away with a shot that resembled a Claude Monet landscape.
I positioned myself on a hill in northwest Harrisonburg, Virginia in hopes of getting photos of the Super Full Worm Moon rising over the Massanutten Mountains that run north to south in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley. Unfortunately, a layer of rain clouds blocked that attempt. With that foiled, I turned my attention to the setting sun on the first day of spring.
Hazy clouds filled the western horizon as well, though the sun did its best to burn through. Residue smoke from controlled burns in the Jefferson National Forest during the day fuzzed up the view all the more. Sunsets around the equinoxes are the shortest of the year. This one merely melted away behind the blue, blue folds of the Allegheny Mountains.
In last week’s Photo of the Week blog post, I featured a teenager photographing flowers. I told her parents how inspiring it was to see a young person so interested in photography, something far beyond selfies. When the young woman joined the conversation, I gave her some advice. I told her to look around when everyone else is looking at the obvious and showed her an example of what I meant. She and her parents thanked me, and we parted ways.
“Looking Up” is an example of taking my own advice, something I too often fail to do. Just ask my patient wife. While recently photographing a sunset after the passage of some summer thunderstorms, I was ready to leave when I happened to look overhead. This is what I saw, the remaining rays of the day highlighting some roiling cumulonimbus clouds.
I couldn’t believe all of the beauty that was right above me while I waited on a spectacular sunset that didn’t materialize. As I told the young photographer, look all around you. You just might find something spectacular to capture and share.
I enjoyed watching this little girl play at the beach at low tide at sunset. With the setting sun reflected in the soft waves, I loved the movement captured in this photo. It’s as if the girl had the ocean tied to her ankles, pulling it in towards the sandy shore.
With apologies to the late Pat Conroy, “The Princess of Tides” is my Photo of the Week.
Years ago, owning a Timex watch was chic. At least it was from my adolescent point of view as influenced by the ubiquitous TV commercials.
The company’s slogan was as simple as their ads. “Timex: The watch that takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” They demonstrated various ways to challenge the integrity of their watches. The timepieces were stepped on, dropped from high places, and crunched by cars.
Those commercials stuck in my impressionable mind. I can’t recall if I ever owned one of their indestructible watches or not. I did wear a watch religiously as a teen.
Doing so was THE way to tell time unless you were in a room with a clock. I wore a watch for most of my adult life. Watches were the standard retirement gift. I got one when I retired as a school principal. I quit wearing it a few years ago for a more accurate way to tell time.
With the advent of cell phones, I stored my wristwatches with my grandfather’s gold pocket watch that my parents gave to me. I ditched the watches for two reasons.
First, wristwatches bothered me when I wore them. In the summer, I sweated with it strapped to my wrist. Other times the expandable metal band pinched my skin. Secondly, I could easily tell time by just looking at my cell phone. The date and time displayed prominently on the phone’s face.
The same was true when I traded in my flip phone for a smartphone. If I want to know the time, I just pull out my phone and glance at the screen. The time is universally accurate.
I realized, though, that time is more than just seconds, minutes, and hours. I also noticed that instead of a wall calendar or the electronic calendars that sync on my phone and laptop computer, I have begun knowing what day of the week it is in a much different fashion.
I use the calendars for the date. I use my weekly pill case for knowing what day it is.
Like many other baby boomers, I’m a walking pharmacy. I’m embarrassed about how many pills I take every day, four times a day, sometimes five depending on my health. I apparently didn’t inherit my parents’ best genes.
It’s sad but true. Every day before breakfast, I religiously bow to my seven-day plastic pill case. It contains four capped compartments for each day of the week. Just so I know where to begin and end, each compartment is labeled for the proper day of the week. And I thought these were just for old people.
I take so many pills that none of the compartments goes empty. I hate taking so much medicine. A lifetime of stuffing my body with gluten, which I unknowingly couldn’t tolerate, drives most of my various medical conditions.
I finally went gluten-free four years ago. But the compounded irritation damage of the gluten still has to be treated and supplemented. Consequently, my pill box is full.
Like it or not, it has come to pass that instead of an indestructible Timex or a handy-dandy smartphone, a utilitarian pill case has become my measure of time. And just like my old watches, don’t look for it on my wrist.
As I empty those pill compartments one by one, I can’t believe how fast the weeks fly by. I lament that it takes a pillbox to remind me of that.
I went outside to take pictures of the sunset. Instead, I shot this colorful photo of a thunderstorm about four miles away. The setting sun’s rays illuminated the north side of the storm in dramatic fashion.
Each summer solstice, I stand at the northwestern corner of our property here in Ohio’s Amish country and watch the sun sink between the twin silos on our Amish neighbor’s farm. I guess it’s my version of Stonehenge. Normally, if the sky is clear, I often see a golden orange glow. Not this year.
I watched the sunset on the summer solstice again last Sunday evening. As sunsets will do, the colors in the evening sky seemed to change by the minute. I kept shooting and shooting photos. I thought the roses, violets and baby blues painted above the silhouetted farmstead in this shot created an amazing scene.
Each evening around sunset, I usually look out the kitchen window to the west to gauge whether the sunset will be colorful or not. After yet another of our cloudy, wet and chilly days here in Ohio’s Amish country, I wasn’t expecting much of a sunset. That was until I took a peek out the window. I grabbed my camera and captured this fast-moving cloud blocking the setting sun.
The deflected rays shooting up, the light and dark contrasts in the cloud made it almost appear to have an angry look about it. Throw in the hill, the windmill, and treeline, all nearly in silhouette, and the cloud seemed to radiate its own personality.
At first glance, this photo appears to be a sunset somewhere in the western United States. In fact, I shot this sunset from my backyard in Holmes County, Ohio. From there, I have a clear view of the pastured hillside on our Amish neighbor’s farm. The windmill, bare trees and fencerow created a wonderful silhouette against the warm, whispery clouds of the multi-hued sunset.
This recent sunset over the Amelia River, Fernandina Beach, FL was stunning all on its own. When this family fishing boat cut across the foreground heading home for the night, it gave the photo even more contrast, depth and meaning.