It was a year ago… actually a bit more than a year ago. I drove out to Denver from Carson City, leaving Carson on Nevada Day and heading east on U.S. 50.
The purpose was to visit the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Center in Denver for an interview. I made the cut for a senior position in the center and so was scheduled for a face-to-face interview.
While there I spent a few days with my kids. One afternoon Older Son and I walked around a bit. I carried a camera for some street photography (or whatever). I managed this capture that afternoon.
I don’t know why I am just now processing this image. Well, actually I know… 2017 was a pretty busy year. After the USGS job didn’t happen, I moved into a small place in Carson City. The move and setup took a bit of time. Then 2017 brought plenty of work that kept me busy.
As 2017 comes to a close and 2018 looms, I know that I will work through the bulk of this work and have time to devote to the photography and other things that are important to me.
So, I’ll leave a wish for a safe New Year’s Eve and a Happy 2018 to those who wander by.
Between taking care of my body and taking care of my projects, there has been little time to write or make photographs. The lack of good light during recent days has not been encouraging me to make photographs. When the light is flat or gray, possible subjects that might interest me just do not appeal. Therefore, although I carry a camera, I find myself not motivated to make captures.
However, one day over the last week we were walking out at Riverview Park along the Carson River. I stop at this old abandoned truck often. The place is an interesting overlook of the river. There are often waterfowl nearby and I like to watch and listen to them.
The truck proves an interesting subject sometimes. I wonder how, why, and when it was left here. Most of the assemblies are long gone; only a shell remains. I wonder what interesting life that vehicle might have had.
A couple of days ago we got out early enough in the evening that there was still a little light. On our way around the old state orphanage, I came across a few “hangers-on” — a few roses that the frost has not killed. They’re distressed, but hanging on. I thought the combination of light and color was interesting, so I made the shot with the Switar 25mm f/1.4 I picked up a couple of weeks ago.
I’ll have to post a photograph of this lens. It’s really rough on the exterior and has a funky slip at a certain portion of the focus helicoid, but the glass is good and the aperture works fine. It’s a classic 16mm movie camera lens that produces interesting images. If I’m ever at a loss for things to do, I’ll disassemble it and clean the helicoid. I think that will fix the focusing weirdness.
Nonetheless, the image is worth sharing. The roses have not yet given up.
We walked later than usual on Friday. I decided to do the strength workout before walking, so after taking care of some work and feeding us, we left the house about 1100h and headed for Silver Saddle Ranch. I really enjoy walking the Mexican Ditch Trail.
We parked at the usual staging area and humped down the hill through the ranch complex. I noticed an North American Kestrel that I first saw a few days ago, sitting in a tree. He flew off down the lane a hundred yards and perched on a fence post. As we continued walking the lane, he spooked and flew off across the hayfield. That made me smile and I spoke to him as he flew away.
I so enjoy seeing birds along the walk. I carry binoculars in my kit so I can watch them. I have an application on my iPhone that helps me identify them. My logging of my sightings is used by the Cornell Ornithology Unit to track populations, I’m certain.
I also identified a Northern Flicker as we walked the trail. I often hear woodpeckers working as we walk, but they are furtive and do not want to be seen. But Friday I spotted one and was able to observe him long enough to get an identification. His call confirmed my identification. He didn’t stay on his perch long, however. But I also spotted a female at the same location, and she was very spooky. She used her camouflage to hide against the bark of a cottonwood tree she occupied. I was amused and thankful for seeing both birds.
There was a lot of flow in the Carson River that afternoon. I supposed we had enough rain and snow in the mountains to raise the flowrate substantially. We paused at the dam to watch and listen to the water flowing over the weir. I noticed some red buds or berries on some scraggly brush along the Mexican Ditch, so we paused a few minutes for me to make an image.
There we met Linda and Austin. Linda is a tall, slender woman about my age. She’s clearly taken care of herself. Austin is her rambunctious black dog. Austin teased and irritated The Girl until she chased him. They were a hoot to watch. We all shared the path back to the ranch buildings and then parted ways, each on their path.
It was a good day. The walk did me good. The birds provided some intellectual stimulation and joy. The exercise is always good. A tired dog is a happy dog. So is a tired old man.
Well, here is the last of my images from the fall Riverview Park hikes. The leaves are almost gone now and the trees are all dressed in their winter clothes. While there will be many days of hard blue skies and warm sunshine, the warm colors of summer and fall are gone.
But it is good. The change of seasons reminds me of changes of life. There is no constant; it is always dynamic. Sometimes the changes come so fast they take breath away, leaving one aswirl in thoughts and emotions as the changes are absorbed, if not understood or accepted.
At other times there is a slower ebb and flow to life, during which we ride those waves. The seasons remind me of those times as I walk daily the trails and watch the change in the position of the Sun and the change in the living things around me.
The slower times provide opportunity to reflect and process the times of faster change. It is good. Life is good.
A few days ago, the Girl and I walked (again) the Carson River out at Riverview Park. Although they are currently rebuilding the trails, we cheat and bushwhack when we get close to working heavy equipment and then move back to the trail when we’re clear of the construction activity. I doubt they would bother me anyway and we stay out of the way of work crews.
In any event, most of the leaves are now gone. There are a few hangers-on, some cottonwoods and a few willows. They will shed their summer clothing soon and take on their winter grays.
In any event, I wanted to capture something of the sense of the day. I had the Lumix G3 with me, and the Wollensak 25mm f/1.9 affixed to the adapter. This lens doesn’t cover the sensor of the G3, but it’s close enough. The vignette doesn’t really bother me; it adds something of the vintage look to the capture, as do the optics of this old movie camera lens. I like the look.
There’s an old Wife story about “spiney.” I think we were visiting with my dad one afternoon, probably a Sunday afternoon because I recall there being ham and beans in the large pot simmering on the range. That means the weather was cool and there was probably football to watch, back in the days when I watched professional sports. (I loved watching football games with dad.)
Wife remarked something about my few-day-old stubble and couldn’t think of an appropriate descriptor. Somehow or another, she managed to say something about me being “spiney,” and it came out unintentionally.
Of course, dad picked it up and ran with it, much to the embarrassment of Wife. That was another great laugh and a great Wife story.
We were hiking on the Riverview Park trails a week or so ago and came across a patch of cockleburs. When I saw them, several thoughts ran through my mind in quick succession.
“Boy, I’m glad that the Girl didn’t get into those! Even with her short fur, she’d be an unhappy Girl when I had to pull them from fur, ears, and feet.”
“Boy, I’m sure glad I didn’t get into those. They’d be a bitch to get out of my socks!”
“I sure got into a lot of those back in Missouri, particularly when squirrel hunting in the fall. They were a bitch to get out of my clothes and are spiney as hell!”
“Those might make an interesting photograph. I’d better make one.”
At that, I pulled up the Panasonic Lumix G3 and got to work. I happened to have the Wollensak 25mm f/1.9 cine lens on the camera. It has an interesting, if a bit busy, bokeh.
The Girl and I walked our in-town route this morning. I saw the light on these beauties and thought it would be worth the effort to make the capture. There was a north wind this morning, cool but not cold. But the hint is there that soon the colder days will come and the summer beauties will be gone, waiting for another year to show themselves.
I made the capture with the Fujian 50mm f/1.4 lens on my Lumix G3 body. This is a very good lens. It is not very sharp wide open, but the colors are good and there is a glow about the images that reminds me of old glass. The lens cannot be beat for these applications, especially at its price. It is a very good art lens. I like it quite a lot, particularly for close shots like this one.
Winter has its own appeal, the season when life regains strength for the coming burst of spring. I like the cold and the snow and the starkness of the grays against the cold blue of the winter sky. The warmth of the sun on my body on a cold winter morning reminds me that blood still runs hot in me. The reminder that there remains life to live and love to share with those close to me. It is a good reminder.
In a few more minutes, I’ll go do my first lower-body routine in a long time. Leg days are the hardest… the big muscles generate a lot of lactic acid and the burn is real. But, this is necessary and the results are worth the effort. Nothing good comes easy. But it is worth the effort and struggle. This body has to carry me along for as long as I live. I need to invest in it as well as the inner work.
I don’t have many lenses for the Panasonic Lumix G3 body I own. I have only one native lens and I don’t use it often. I prefer prime lenses to zooms. I have a few C-mount (cine body) lenses in my collection and am adding a select few to that collection. A pair of the more interesting lenses I play with are the Fujian TV lenses. I have the 35mm f/1.7 and the 50mm f/1.4. For the prices, these are very nice. They are not the sharpest lenses I own. They are both subject to front element flare, so a hood is needed if there is any back light.
They have an interesting bokeh and the out of focus areas are pleasant, at least to my eyes. So, I carry them when I carry the Lumix. They are used more than one would expect.
On this morning, we walked past our usual stomping area, the old lumberyard flume. The hedgerow there provides much interesting material to photograph. While the Girl sniffed about (quite happily I would say), I played around with this shaded flower. I think the pistils and stamen of the bloom are in focus, but there is not much else that is. The capture highlights the bokeh of this lens.
I’m going to take it downtown one evening and play with some bokehlights, I think. The casinos should provide some interesting images.
I’m a little entranced by the Wollensak 3-inch f/4 cine lens. It has a character that I find interesting — very vintage but excellent image quality. The image circle is large enough to cover micro 4/3s without vignetting.
The Girl and I were walking one of our usual routes when I spied a friend from my time at the Plaza Hotel here in Carson City. His dog loves the Girl and this man is solid. I’d have him at my back any day.
I’m enjoying playing with the Panasonic G3 again. I have only a few cine-mount lenses (C-mount). I think addition of a few more Wollensak lenses is in order. They produce a very nice image that has a look I really like.