Tuesday, October 31


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In Renaissance music, a canon is a staggered imitation, like the child's song, "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat." I saw the striations in this boat's bottom and found the pattern haunting. See how they repeat, and stagger over one another? This thing went over the same rocks - again, again and again. Or were they rocks? Maybe roots? Maybe some of the other hard mystery things that your feet find beneath the muddy surface of a lake. Whatever...
This wrinkling old buddy aged along with its family, and now it's upended awaiting what? Next summer? The kids who've grown and won't be back? Its aging friends who found it so many years ago and paddled it through memories? It's a soft thing that ground against the glacial rocks of these ancient mountains. Will it get one more round in the canon of its life? Did it win? Are warm memories... winning?

Monday, October 30


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Is there spiritual essence in a stump? Look at that thing, it's probably a lot older than any of us. And it will be there for a couple of hundred years or so, unless someone finds a need to pull it. A century from now the machine saw marks will still look fresh as if they were cast in concrete. Who cut this thing? Why? There are cottages behind me as I took this picture. Did this pine obstruct someone's view? Not enough apparently to finish the job, just enough to get the thing hacked but not low enough to do anything else with this plot of ground.
Yeah, I think there is a spiritual essence to this corpse-that-won't-decompose. Unlike you or I, it's body will survive the snows and the searing suns. And it'll poke itself out of that rocky ground long after its killer's body has bio-degraded. Maybe that's the payback, eh? Maybe that's the essence of the hardy old stump's spirit?

Sunday, October 29


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Lake Harmony is in the Pocono Mountains, about 25 miles south of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It's a place that time forgot. Everything's nicely maintained, or built to feel as if you've driven through a shimmering door into the 1950s. We ate at a restaurant last night, "Shenanigans," where every area is a smoking area! It's as if the post WWII people have been preserved in some kind of patina. Nothing at Lake Harmony's seedy, or ratty, or uncool. And it isn't a museum of any sort. People there seem to have simply decided that they want to live in Eisenhower's America but out in the woods. So they do it with iPods, DVDs, and washer-dryers. The whole place is built around this lake that started to attract summer people in the 1920s as cars got popular.

In Philadelphia back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, they had a name for the Poconos... During the steamy, city months, they called it, "Air Conditioning". Here's an image from this morning as the sun cracked through a snow spattering sky.

Thursday, October 26


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We're going to the Poconos this weekend. Leaving tomorrow so, no postings until maybe Sunday night. These are part of the Appalachian Mountain range which runs down the east coast of North America. They're particularly ancient mountains without volcanic activity, and their highest peaks are up in New England. The Poconos are the name of the range as it passes generally through northeastern Pennsylvania. The color should be just past its peak, but we should get interesting images.
So... it seems as good a time as any to set the sun on my early October visit to E. Dennis, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. I like the light over this marsh. The sky was angry, but the storm never hit us. See the red flowers? They're somehow harbingers of Christmas, don't you think? By now, I suppose the frosts have killed them off up there in the north country. And snows are only weeks away from the Poconos. We'll get there just before Fall's window closes. Cool.


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This blog-site system (blogger.com) was down last night. Couldn't post yesterday's pith. Pity, no pith, eh? But now the blogger.com has returned, waiting in my window for me like a loyal chauffer who took a day off. "Any pith today?" he wonders. "Forget annoyances, what perks you up?"

So I htought about it and well, Pizzicato always makes me happy. It sparkles atop daily life's mixed medium tones, you know? It's like when, on the periphery, a glimmery froth tickles your mind and you can't help smiling. Your baby's giggling, a window twinkles out rainbow rays, a dog's rolling on the carpet, your friend's laughing, the air smells like baking bread... And magic trickles over you. Here, look at my image from a fuzzy sheep meadow in E. Dennis. Pizzicato's like that... it's the shimmery part of life.

Tuesday, October 24


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Souls, Plato believed, were exposed to the perfect forms for everything in heaven - before they were born. There was a perfect form for beauty, for redness, for eloquence, for everything. So instead of spending our lives in the pursuit of discovering perfection, we live to remember it. And as I built this image, I felt myself with a tantalizing memory first of Nantucket-ness, then of sailing-ness, but finally, even more primal... I look at it as a tantalizing glimpse of my perfect memory of sea-ness. What do you think? Does it pique your Platonic memories even a whit?

DATA: Wednesday, 10/01/06,1:21 PM: Canon EOS 20D, Meter Mode Auto, Exposure Program: Normal, ISO 200, Lens Canon EFS 10-22mm, Focal Length 22 mm, Exposure Bias:-.33, 1/100 at f/8, RAW

Monday, October 23


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The jet catamaran ferries tear across the waters between Hyannis and Nantucket Harbor in about an hour. But even with good winds, it's four hours by sail. At night from The Cape, you see the ships reaching out toward the island, their canvases puffed full, and quickly they become black specks. Halfway across, these things can dart from the darkness - WOOOSH! Abruptly they'er there, burly intruders for some moments, the only rectangles and hues against the charcoal sky and waves. Even when, perhaps especially when, their colors are light - the things can intimidate. Glowing ghosts, cloaked in wind. Bulks, hulks, heaving things. And for a moment, as terribly beautiful as night at sea.

DATA: Wednesday, 10/01/06,1:17 PM: Canon EOS 20D, Meter Mode Auto, Exposure Program: Normal, ISO 200, Lens Canon EFS 10-22mm, Focal Length 10 mm, Exposure Bias:-.33, 1/320 at f/11, RAW

Sunday, October 22


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I missed my post yesterday. There were furies to deal with. Sometimes it seems as if the Great White is just off the horizon and all sails are furled under a dark sky and... and... Saturday was a day like that. Furies can get distracting... It's good that it's Sunday.

Friday, October 20

Harvest Moon

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First off, I shoulda' mentioned that the Lancaster Barnstormers first won their division and then won the Atlantic League Championship. They grabbed everything while I was up at The Cape. Lancaster county is very happy. Oddly, there were nincompoops that thought baseball wouldn't work in Lancaster. In fact, a politician from a township bodering on the city lost his job because he championed a ballpark there. Now it's up in the city, thousands and thousands of people come almost every night that they play, and life is nice.
It's a shame about the nincompoops. They have now turned their opposition against a convention center for the city which is in the heart of Amish Country. The nincompoops can't imagine how any organization would want to have its conventions here midst the gentle rolling hills of one of the prettiest historic places in America. They can't imagine how a grand new hotel and a convention facility could lure professional and commercial associations with headquarters in Philly, NYC, Baltimore or D.C. – places that are a morning's drive away, but just far enough away to ward off the commuters. Cylo the Barnstormer's cow likes to moon the visiting team. It'd be cool, during harvest season, if she'd moon our nincompoops. It'd give 'em something to imagine.

Thursday, October 19

What's This?

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There's a debate raging among photographers. They are much like painters in the late 19th century who when confronted with photography were perplexed to the point of fury. Photoshop and digital post production techniques allow far greater control over an image than the photographic process every allowed. And the digital effects are replicable. So traditional photographers are dressing themselves in uniforms marked "Purist" and "Organics" to reject the photographic status of images that are post processed digitally.
People who will take multiple and purposely blurred time exposures onto exotically colored and processed film to produce prints that are heavily manipulated in the darkroom... these people will call the resultant images "photographs" yet deny that the image above is one. Odd, since I can replicate the things I have done to that image... an image by the way which presents all of the trees, paths, and the like that were there at Elk Point Maryland that afternoon, in exactly the same position where they sat. No physical things were added or subtracted from this image during processing. Yet, I'm told that I cannot call this a photograph! Odd, are photographers people in control, as I was here, or are they folks involved in a mystical process whose results they simply do not understand and cannot predict? Are photographers merely the first people to happen upon the scene of an accident?

Wednesday, October 18

Fading Hertz

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Width, length, height and time... the four dimensions by which we measure tangible stuff. Funny thing about that last dimension. Look at this wall in downtown Lancaster. See the painted sign. Look real closely and you can make out an ad for Hertz car and truck rentals. But time lends a patina to the moment which tells as much about this wall as its physical measurements.

There's a very odd thing about time as a measurement. Not only does it fix an image in a moment, just as surely as the other dimensions. But it also slowly erases all of the others. And then finally, it becomes the only dimension which also erases itself. Time is the only lethal measure. It will extinguish everything... which is why I call this "Fading Hertz".

Tuesday, October 17


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It happens that we can lose faith in so many things as a source of betterment in our lives. Sometimes we regard even revered institutions as pesky ideas that exist, at least in part, to disguise essential truths. And news is seen as the opposite of objectivity, there to create enough tension to attract an audience or distract thought.

When, as someone wrote, prominent professors of literature regard polysyllabic gobbledygook as the best way to write, and law or medicine momentarily seem a scramble for profit with doctors and lawyers becoming speculative business people for whom neither justice nor curing have special value... It's time to recharge. To sit on a dock, aside a marsh and count the glacial stones. Ignoring for the moment those storm clouds but instead focusing upon the meaning of the distant, golden glow. Every form of human discomfort it seems is susceptible to the magical powers of burbling water. It is the ancestor of insight, recovery, superstition, optimism, and therapy.

DATA: Sunday, 10/01/06,1:02 PM: Canon EOS 20D, Meter Mode Auto, Exposure Program: Normal, ISO 200, Lens Canon EFS 10-22mm, Focal Length 11 mm, Exposure Bias:-.33, 1/125 at f/7.1, RAW

Monday, October 16

Fencing Dysfunction

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Once upon a time someone put a whole lot of effort into constructing this thing on the very edge of a tidal marsh in Wellfleet Massachusetts. To the left is the marsh, to the right an open field. Okay so far?

Now, was the fence... Um, was it supposed to keep something in the marsh from the field? Or something in the field from the marsh? After a while fences become that way. Nobody remembers which direction they were aimed. Contention's like that. Something arouses it, years pass and it's no longer clear what it was fencing in, or out. But just as sure as God made marshes... that contension never quite drains away. I've met folks who surely suffer from contention dysfunction. A lot of them in Massachusetts. But, there's another story doncha know?

Sunday, October 15

Shhh! Hear It?

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Consonance versus dissonance - is the struggle composers do when they're working to create a harmonic support to a melody that's pleasant yet just sufficiently unbalanced to be interesting.

In this visual triad I've combined texture and classic composition together within a clash of reds, yellows and greens to stage the startling fortissimo of a Wellfleet sunrise. Now, if I can only learn to hold my camera straight... I'd resolve this thing on a much happier note.

Seriously, "harmony" comes from the Greek word, harmonia, which means "fastening" or "to join." If I did this image correctly, the cant to this thing reinforces the way I've tried to balance the dissonant elements. Does it sing?

Saturday, October 14

Permanently Bogged

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That's an abandoned cranberry bog. The water's fresh, left behind by an overnight downpour. The cloud's are just clearing around the sunrise.
There are rules there against developing abandoned bogs. So those homes can keep their view. Behind me was another dune, and then the bay. So if you're sitting in that white house - you view the bog, the dune and Cape Cod Bay. Which is where, twelve hours or so after I took this snapshot, that same sun - set.

Friday, October 13

Till When?

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Somewhere out by Blueball this thing sat. It was probably put together back in the Forties... That's the 1940's for you kids. A couple of mules pulled it then, still do. There are those who sigh when they hear that. Wonder about how romantic it must be to live in the time when the Amish turned off the technological clock.
I'm not one of them. I don't respect the Amish for giving up on the only thing that makes us dramatically different from folks in 1869, 1269, 69 or 2069 BC. It is the distillation of our technological knowledge through science that's done more to improve the human condition than any number of theologians, philosphers,sociologist, or historians. The bards of the Arts & Humanities may sing ballads of beauty, but I can't think of a poem which has reduced infant mortality, overcome hunger, allowed us to escape tenements, or permitted more people to appreciate a sunset at age 69.
There are a lot of things in modern society worth rejecting - but technology doesn't burble to the top of any list I'd compose.

Thursday, October 12

Trial of a trail

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It's often hard to get from here to there. And even a summer can make it tougher. There was a trail up this dune last winter. The workers used it then. But they stopped coming. When this winter's storms arrive, the roof's blue tarp on the bay side probably won't last. Somebody must have run out of money, rights, or enthusiasm. Maybe all three.

Makes you wonder how much restoration those things can stop. Makes you wonder if they're the speed bumps of history. Makes you wonder if the paths between wherevery you are, and wherever it could be interesting to go could all be swallowed up by growths that are just lurking in wait for the exhaustion of money, rights, or enthusiasm. Fragile, this civilization thing, eh?

DATA: Friday, 10/06/06, 7:36AM: Canon EOS 20D, Meter Mode Auto, Exposure Program: Normal, ISO 400, Lens Canon EFS 10-22mm, Focal Length 22 mm, Exposure Bias:-.20, 1/160 at f/10, RAW

Wednesday, October 11

Our Rulers Need Rulers

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Government keeps us in line with lines. Painted on the ground - They order us to stay within... Keep together... They order us to be orderly. But look really closely at their work - Get down there and peer at how government operates... How it governs us. The cracks show!
The orderings are scratchy... Disorganized... Squiggly. Government's directions are hard to ignore... But the way they pull it off. Well, "elegance" is not the word that springs to mind. The moral? When it comes to government, don't look too closely. We get what we settle for.
DATA: Sunday, 10/01/06, 12:38 pm:Canon EOS 20D, Meter Mode Auto,Exposure Program: Normal, ISO 200, Lens Canon EFS 10-22mm, Focal Length 22 mm, Exposure Bias:-.33, 1/250 at f/13, RAW

Tuesday, October 10


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Here's a tidal marsh. It rises quicker than an Irish temper. This sunrise was announced by birdsong and water burbles which sounded nothing like a Debussey tone poem. Nope, the meter was odd, and the notes discordant. I imagine that the fuss is an aquired taste to sleepers behind those windows.

There's nothing still about a seacoast morning. Water birds seem as grumpy about daybreak jostling their sleep as me. Up the coast a block or so, a timber mill's already sprung to life, its saws and claw trucks stirring additional whines and grumbles into the thickening sound stew. But those reeds and the colors seem to compensate. There are those who love early mornings. I'm not one of them.

Monday, October 9

Award Winner 2006: Is Up Better Than Not?

Note: Accepted as one of the world's finest Travel Images of 2006 for Canon POTN Book published in the Fall of 2007.

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Didja ever wonder how much of life goes to places that... Well you just can't tell where it's going from where you are? You can be standing right in front of a way that looks like it's going up – You with me here? And the passageway seems as if it's been there a while and that means others must have passed along... but yet.
Are all things that go up, worth the climb? And when it looks as if the way hasn't been taken in a while, well... the hell does that mean? And suppose that you're not certain if the time's right to climb? Like you can't decide if the sun's setting or rising on the whole idea. Well, didja ever wonder? Huh? Huh?

DATA: Friday, 10/06/06, 7:34 am? pm?:Canon EOS 20D, Meter Mode Auto,Exposure Program: Normal, ISO 400, Lens Canon EFS 10-22mm, Focal Length 10 mm, Exposure Bias:+.85, 1/200 at f/9, RAW

Sunday, October 8

Bogged Up

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This was the perfect day. On October 1, they flooded this indented field of cranberry plants by damming up the water flowing through the bog. On October 2, a device shook and raked at the sunken plants so that the berries would bob atop the pond. And a couple of hours after I visited on October 3, they skimmed together, then vacumed the fruit into a tank truck.

These wet-harvested berries are processed into pastes and canned jellies. Only berries whisked dry from their plants can be sold whole. Here's an image which exists for only a precious few hours, then is sucked away. Just like life.

Data: Tuesday, 10/03/06, 8:28 am:Canon EOS 20D, Meter Mode Auto,Exposure Program: Normal, ISO 200, Lens Canon EFS 17-85, Focal Length 80 mm, Exposure Bias:-0.67, 1/400 at f/11, RAW

Saturday, October 7


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Just got home from a week in E. Dennis, Massachusetts. That's on the bay side of Cape Cod. The days defined "pellucid". There was a quality of light last week which happens when a tired summer gets gently squeezed by fall's first hug. It's the sort of light which creates accessible shadows. Those are the sort whose darkness is just open enough to invite curiousity. See how that happens in the shoreline here in the marsh? It's as if you've stumbled upon a gaggle of poets, each reciting, and far from its being a din, you can make sense of both the parts and the whole. Post a comment. How does this let you feel?
DATA: Thursday, 10/05/06, 2:36 pm:Canon EOS 20D, Meter Mode Auto,Exposure Program: Normal, ISO 200, Lens Canon EFS 17-85, Focal Length 38 mm, Exposure Bias:-0.67, 1/200 at f/10, RAW