Juan Pablo Montoya won the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500
This was the finishing touch
The sub-title refers not only to the fact that I have not posted on this blog for several months, but also because I came across a book of Tennessee wildflowers that was given to me many, many years ago. The friend who gave me the book had inscribed in the cover, “Thanks for appreciating and making me aware of the beauty and importance of even the smallest of weeds.”
So….where did that guy go?
What with trying to maintain a house, cars, children, marriage, work….
What with being frustrated by government and bad drivers, and political idiocy, and taxes and plumbing and insurance….ad nauseam…
Today I was reminded of the New Testament verse about, “…Solomon and all his glory…” and I decided to ‘get small’.
I needed to see what the bee sees… in the magnificence that the bee sees. These are his ‘fast food’ joints, although I’m certain some present more up-scale, elegant fare than others.
I wanted to once again be (bee?) THAT guy, the one who, if for only a moment, can escape the intensity of the self- imposed, manufactured pressures and embrace the immensity of the minuscule… the created.
The afternoon of our arrival at Panama City Beach, FL, while walking on the beach I kept noticing this fleeting burst of color just before each wave turned its curl. The water seemed to be catching the color intensity that was prominent further away from the shore and tossing a bit of it at my feet. A beautiful greenish blue….well, I guess technically it should be called ‘Aqua’….that would make sense …
Often when I am ‘vacating’ I purposefully shun the typical photo themes…not always, but often, and try to find something that is not necessarily on every postcard and/or magazine ad. I decided that first afternoon that I wanted to see how well I might capture that ephemeral slice of color that each swell offered. I took note of the time and direction of light, with that pervasive foreboding that it might never happen again….but I waited nonetheless.
Keeping in mind that sand and saltwater don’t necessarily attribute to camera conditioning, I wrapped the Nikon in a grocery sack so that only the glass of the lens was exposed to the elements.
And this is what I saw….
Every afternoon at about 4:30 groups of Manta Rays would strafe the shoreline. What an incredibly unusual creature. They seemed to move through the water exactly like birds through the air. Being myself…it caused me to wonder about the many ‘realities’ and peculiarities of life on this planet. Occasionally, one would propel itself out of the water as if it were trying to fly. Did a Ray from eons ago keep trying until his line evolved into birds…or vice versa?… What is their perception of humans who would have to be as foreign to them as they are to us? What is it like to be able to move through the world with such apparent grace?
And sometimes one catches a glimpse of a ‘SeaMonster’…..
Speaking of Manta Rays, how about some Man Ray?
“I do not photograph nature. I photograph my visions”
I realize that these photos don’t compare to ones I have seen of the gigantic breakers in Hawaii and other places, but I was okay without the majesty. All I wanted was to capture that little slice…
And now…. the gratuitous beach sunset shots….
I had never been to Austin before this past weekend when I was asked to cover the “Lone Star Le Mans” at the Circuit of the Americas track.
The city AND the track were new to me.
This is not an oval… left turn, left turn, straight… track, as it was designed originally specifically for Formula 1 racing….a road track….s-turns, hairpins, hills….
In the center portion of the track is the 25-story ‘tower’ which commands a pretty impressive view of not only the track but also the countryside and the city of Austin in the distance.
After my last race on Saturday, I wanted to see downtown.
I have heard a lot about Austin, from its eateries to its music scene to the ‘bat bridge’,
so I decided on a ‘photo safari’, with maybe some good food along the way.
You know how every city has a certain personality…sometimes a split personality. For instance, I love Chicago which to me is a cross between Manhattan and Little Rock. Atlanta is a hybrid of Memphis and Detroit. Austin seems to have one foot in Nashville and another in Los Angeles.
A Southern lean to a socially liberal tolerance. Their motto, which is on the primary souvenir t-shirt is “Keep Austin Weird”.
(Though I will have to admit, every tavern that I passed in Austin had live music going…music of all genres…something that Nashville, as Music City, has been lagging behind in.)
My first move besides getting a map of the hopping downtown neighborhoods was to check in with “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” to see if Guy Fieri could give me a heads-up on where I should eat dinner. I decided on “Casino el Camino”, supposedly known for their hamburgers, plus it was in a location that would mandate a few blocks of walking through the part of town I wanted to see anyway.
When I stepped through the door, my first reaction was to quote a Texas cowboy whose horse was about to jump a wide dry creek bed full of rattlesnakes….
I had entered what could possibly be the deepest ‘dive’ I have ever even imagined.
“You wanna eat?! Go back to the counter and give ‘em your order!”
Okay, in for a penny, in for a pound. (Or pounds as the case may be!)
I ordered the Buffalo Burger (buffalo sauce, not bison meat) with bleu cheese and an extra… an added slab of pork belly, with fries. In the middle of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ ” I heard my name, summoning me to ‘the counter’.
Now, I’ve had burgers in many places, modern and/or funky, and of many styles and accouterments, but I will gladly proclaim that the next time I am in Austin, the Casino will be a definite item on the to-
do eat list.
The ‘groove’…the ‘Flow’… whatever one chooses to call it, it’s the time when one feels apart from everything but the activity that is happening now. Painting, music, photography, running, reading, writing, horse-back riding, working in the garden…I would assume every endeavor that someone loves has its moments of flow. It’s when you pick up the guitar and then finally put it down and hours that seemed like minutes, have passed…it’s when you sit down to get a few things done on the computer and look up to find that everyone else has gone to bed…long ago…when you pick up the paintbrush at sunset and as the turpentine comes out to clean the oil from the brush, sunset has turned into sunrise, but you’re not tired. No, if anything you are more energized than when you started.
For 5 years or so, I have been photographing auto racing for a particular client. I didn’t come into it as a race fan, just a photographer. During that time I have developed a certain awareness of angles to shoot and the various activities to concentrate on. In a way, I could go to the track and get into a groove, yet, there is only so much one can do in this situation. The cars are different, but the perspectives are generally the same and there are no obvious nuances of photographic ‘personality’ to a race car. The drivers? Yes, but during a race you can’t see the drivers anyway, so that’s a bit hard to capture.
While in Indianapolis this past weekend, in the hotel room between races, I was re-reading David du Chemin’s book, “A Beautiful Anarchy”, a treatise on living ‘artfully’. I was struck, this time, by his expression of the thought that if one is not careful, and diligent, the ‘Groove’ can easily become a ‘Rut’, and a rut is hard to steer out of without a conscious jerk of the wheel.
That’s what this post is about. Me being a jerk…no, wait…me jerking the wheel into an experimental direction to keep things ‘fresh’.
I don’t really know what made me grab the camera, knowing that I had no tripod with me, which would normally have had me shrug my shoulders and wait for daylight…yet something in the view from the top floor of the hotel intrigued me. I make no claims to the aesthetic viability of any of these shots…feel free to hate them if they ‘offend your sensibilities’, but,
Boy, did I have a blast! This is so far from the style that I usually ‘groove’ with that it refreshed me and sure enough, I had to finally call it a day when the ‘flow’ of traffic died down although the ‘Flow’ was still alive.
Slow shutter speed, obvious camera shake, and I had the time of my life breaking out of the rut of my own preconceived photographic notions.
And finally, my favorite!