Going to Seed

Fall is finally here and the area milkweed is starting to release its seeds to ensure spring blooms. I love this plant. It produces stunning flowers and just as stunning seed pod openings.

Last Spring I was able to capture some great photos of milkweed blooms. I’ll enjoy seeing if next Spring I can get more but with a unique angle.

Milkweed isn’t only fun to look at. It also provides food for monarch butterflies. I don’t have any milkweed at home so I haven’t been able to use it to attract butterflies and photograph them. Hopefully I can change that next year.

Goodbye Summer

Climate Change Prediction Model

Climate Change Prediction Model

It’s starting to get cooler outside and tomorrow is the official first day of Fall. I’m looking forward to getting out of the heat.

I love when seasons change. It always gives me a feeling of renewed energy creativity and opportunity.

Each season holds its own treasures. In Fall we see beautiful colors in the trees and get to celebrate Thanksgiving. It very well could be my favorite time of year.

A Budding Photographer?

You never know what will interest a kid. It could be Legos or Pokémon cards or video games or something you never even imagined. It seems like every year a child’s interests change drastically. And although you know it probably won’t last, it’s always heartening when your son or daughter sees something that you’re interested in and takes an equal, if passing, interest.

This was the case last night when my ten year old son saw me taking photographs in the back yard and asked if he could do it too. I could have just gone and gotten an old smart phone and told him to start with that. But he seemed genuinely interested in my DSLR with its buttons and switches and complicated mechanics.

So I handed it to him and draped the shoulder strap across his shoulders, knowing well that if he dropped the camera the strap would either just slide down his back or be so long on him that it hits the ground anyway.

I showed him how to support the lens from underneath, how to zoom and focus manually when he needs to and of course showed him where the shutter release button was.

He ended up being a natural and was taking pictures I wish I had taken. It wasn’t a case of the student beating the master. It was a case of me realizing that none of the photos I had ever taken were ever that special. Maybe to me but certainly not in the world of fine photographic art.

After only taking a few photos he remarked “wow, you can be really creative with this”. He was discovering, on his own, how you can blur subjects on purpose to create an interesting effect.

My son has a natural understanding of the need for good light and interesting subjects and backgrounds. It was dusk when he started taking pictures which can be a difficult time to learn photography. But he never let it get to him. When it got really dark we just bumped up the ISO really high and put it in shutter priority mode so he could take long exposures.

Will he continue with his interest in photography? I have no idea. It could last a week or a month or it could be over already. I have a bit of hope for it though. When he gets a creative interest he often sticks with it for a while. He’s been interested in making our family tree for the last three weeks and he still isn’t tired of researching it on Ancestry.com.

But maybe I shouldn’t be encouraging it. I might not ever get to use my camera again.

Splitsville Week 2

Well, after one week of splits specific stretching I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m in a lot of pain. I really haven’t been overdoing the stretches but I think I’m pulling on muscle groups that I haven’t pulled on for a long time, if ever.

I think I’ve noticed a slight improvement in my flexibility from when I started so it’s not all pain and no gain. From the pictures above you can notice I’m getting a tiny bit lower. I’ve actually been enjoying the stretches and besides the pain that I feel the next day, I feel better for doing them.

Throughout the four week program you do two base stretches continuously. A third stretch is then rotated in on week by week basis. So, at any time you are only doing three stretches total. This is great because it makes sticking to it easier.

I have to admit, I lost my drive for this little project over the last day or so. But I’m sticking with and am bound and determined to finish out the four weeks. I think the next goal I set for myself will be mental rather than physical.

The Barcode Poem

I wrote this poem a few months ago but I can’t remember the product that inspired it. I just remember that the font all of the text looked different from most of the “back of package” writing I usually see. 

There’s something highly appealing to me about poetry that addresses aspects of technology. And it’s not just poetry. Some of my favorite photography subjects are power poles.

Five Books For Friday #5

I don’t really feel like writing this post today. So I thought I would cheat and just give the titles and maybe a sentence or two for each one. I’m not being lazy, really. Maybe I’m just getting bored with the book list thing. Well, I’ve got a week to think of something more interesting for next week.

  1. Even the Stiffest People Ccan Do the Splits by Eiko. Ok, this one’s the ultimate cheat because I already wrote about it this week in my post Splitsville.
  2. The Playful Way to Serious Writing by Roberta Allen. I really like Roberta Allen. Read this book to find out why. It’s really just a series of writing prompts but with words and images.
  3. Atom Land by Jon Butterworth. Subtitled A Guided Tour Through The Strange (And Impossibly Small) World of Particle Physics, Atom Land uses the concept of building a map of quantum physics to help the reader understand theories and ideas.
  4. Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow by Dr. Jan Pol. The life of Dr. Jan Pol, Americas “Favorite Veterinarian”. I haven’t made it through this one yet and I’ve had it for a while. I need to get reading more.
  5. How To Be Perfect by Ron Padgett.  Another collection of poems from Padgett. I didn’t like this one as much as Alone and Not Alone

Splitsville

I love how-to books. There’s something about the promise of learning a new skill, no matter how arcane, useless or difficult, that draws me in.

I was drawn in last weekend at the library by a book called “Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splits” by Eiko. On the front cover was a slightly smiling woman whose legs were splayed out like the two halves of a gutted fish. To make this scene even more terrifying and mentally disturbing, the woman’s upper torso was lying flat on the floor in front of her apparently rubber pelvis.

I thought this looked fun so I grabbed the book and checked it out along with a couple books of poetry and one on particle physics.

It took me a day or two to finally get around to reading the book. I was avoiding it out of fear I would actually try it. But, as I began to read through it I started thinking maybe I could actually do these creepy and painful looking splits.

There’s probably a reason all of the example models in the book are short, old Japanese women. I figured 41 year old white males who have never been particularly limber aren’t supposed to do the splits. But after only about 30 pages of stretching instructions, the book takes an odd turn and for the next hundred pages or so we’re told a moral splits story that involves two men and a woman.

It’s somewhat difficult to describe the story. One of the men teaches the other man and the woman how to do the splits after they accidentaly interupt him doing the deed in his office. He also teaches them why learning the splits will make them better at their jobs (they work in a trading company) and at life in general. Notable quotes include “Well, you’ve caught me in a compromising position, haven’t you?” and “…you probably ought to slip off your pumps, first”.

I was especially moved by the chapter titled “Light the Fire of the Splits in Your Heart”. I don’t know if it was more painful to get through the book’s stretches or the story.

I’m not totally inexperienced with the splits. I’ve split the seat of my pants a couple of times; I’ve been told “let’s split!” by people cooler than me and I’ve eaten a banana split. But I don’t think any of those life experiences are going to help me rip my groin in half.

A Painful Beginning

And this lady isn’t expecting just the splits. No, she wants me to rest my head on the floor in front of me too. This is like a masochist book or something. But I’m going to give it the old college try.

The book is touted as a four week stretching plan to achieve amazing health. Whatever, I just want to creep people out. I’ll keep you posted for the next four weeks as to my progress.