Before the Digital Camera

Before digital cameras hit the photography market, I spent hours developing film, mixing chemicals, and printing images. My childhood Brownie was eventually replaced.  As we all did, I advanced to a 35 mm camera with lenses and filters. I still admire the work of early photographers who most likely never dreamed of a digital age. My post of a few black & white portraits deserve the light of day. Released from negative strips, contact sheets, and 3-ring binders out they go into the Universe. (Perhaps not quite that far.) The portraits are of friends, neighbors, and people I met along the way.

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Water – Precious to All

Tucson’s post-summer temperatures have been high – think climate change. Javelinas, bobcats, owls, rabbits, coyotes, Gambrel quails, doves all need water. The animals have a water dish available all day and all night. In exchange, I have the option to record their visits.

For images, I use a Browning trail camera (Model BTC-5HD). I wind the strap around a nearby tree, and flip the battery button. The camera eye responds to motion and records every flick of a feather. The six AA batteries store enough energy for several months.

I’m posting images taken at the end of April and early May. Javelina are thirsty creatures and will drink the saucer dry. When that happens, the other animals must wait until morning for a refill. My daytime wish for a hawk to drop in has not happened. However, my powers of wishful thinking will eventually bring a big bird to the dish. In the meanwhile, consider the challenges desert creatures endure every single day. Water is precious to all.

In a Few Words . . . .

An information sign works best when stated in a few words. For example: a speed limit sign. Whenever a sign designer’s creativity clicks with me, I’ll take a picture. That brings me to today. While the corona virus encourages me to keep socially distant, I’ve had time to make a slide presentation. The image “Evolution and Psychology . . . ” taken in a northern Virginia suburb was shared by a friend, John McC. who also likes signs.

May the images bring a smile and brighten the moment for you.

Stay safe everyone.

1962 Bel Air Chevrolet – Rhyolite, NV

An easy seven miles on Route 374 separate Rhyolite, NV from Death Valley National Park. Set into the Bullfrog Hills, the mining town was abandoned in 1920. Still the site invites curious travelers to scout the area for whatever catches their eye. Chain link fencing surrounds the train station, an old caboose has nowhere to go, and the concrete shell of a bank building looms large. I gave all my attention to a ’62 Chevrolet with a rusted firewall.

The old Chevy has held up despite the affects of oxidation. Its firewall displays beautiful compositions in line, color, and texture.

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Jack Beal Mosaics – Times Square

New York City, ever an adventure in art, culture, and life itself, came to the fore in the 41st IRT subway (7th Avenue). The much-admired Jack Beal (1931 – 2013) mosaics have, no doubt, been photographed many, many times. I had to have my own images of The Onset of Winter and The Return of Spring. The murals depict the Greek myth of Persephone, the goddess of spring. Kidnapped by Hades, she was forced to live in the underground for half of the year. Demeter, her mother and goddess of harvest, asked Zeus to intervene. Long story – Persephone and her mother were reunited for half of the year. Thus, earth has six months of springtime and summer.

 

 

A Beautiful Beetle

Since childhood I have been curious about creatures assigned to the insect world. I recall happy summer hours collecting bugs from Newark’s parks and backyards. Of course, our apartment attracted non-collectibles such as water bugs, flies, ants, mosquitoes, and roaches. My mother’s precious rose garden attracted Japanese beetles. A bug’s life usually ended with a squirt of Raid or the heel of a shoe.

Jumping ahead many years – Tucson has its share of insects. Two weeks ago I found a most interesting bug in the garage. Sadly, the palo verde beetle was dead. Trapped in the garage, the beetle could not escape the still, hot air. Dead on its back, almost 3″ long with a lustrous, armor-like body, the beetle became my focus. I’m finished taking pictures of Buster and wonder what to do with the him. For now, he’s on the dining room table.

Beetle Life – a rather simple first stage, egg to larvae. In the grub stage, the insect lives underground and feeds on the roots of palo verde trees. After a few years (2 – 4) in the dark and in the monsoon season, palo verde beetles surface and fly off to find a mate.  When the female deposits her fertilized eggs, she dies. (I don’t know when Buster beetle kicks off.) Life above ground lasts for perhaps a month, and the cycle begins again.

Palo Verde Beetle Images

Postscript: I wanted the images shown in slideshow format. Word Press in its infinite wisdom says I must use Java Script. Nuts to that! I’m not about to learn Java Script since I’ve used the slideshow format before.