Posted on July 31, 2020
It’s nearly August. Time is passing one day at a time. I can’t decide if it is slowly or whether it is just way too fast. It’s hard to believe that I have now been at home 4.5 months. I am still busy working, but time seems in limbo. I wake up, make a protein shake, feed Sim, Moo & Hoo and then I sit down at my computer. My problem is that I do not move. I am trying to force myself to go down the stairs every hour and go on the elliptical machine for a few minutes just to move the old joints around.
Each day seems the same, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays we stay at home, most of the time, unless I absolutely have to go out, or Richard has decided he has had enough of home and needs to go out and eat.
I have been banned from feeding the ducks, the birds and the squirrels so I don’t have a lot of wildlife activity in my garden any more – which I will add I hate. Every so often I will get up and drive to a local park to watch the sunset but even that feels like too much effort some days. Other days I will watch it from home.
An update to this is we are stuck at home. Richard tested positive and we are in quarantine. Happily trying to avoid each other. Just remember if you are asymptomatic, it does not mean that you could not test positive. If you come in contact with someone or you know you may have been in contract for longer than 15 minutes and within the 6ft social distancing, remember that you could get infected. He does not have a single symptom that would indicate that he is sick. Wear the mask, keep the distance.
Last week Wednesdays was one of those days that I watched from home. I happened to move Hoo (the quaker parakeet) into the spare room as I was going to have a conference call (only to find out it was cancelled) and I looked out of the window and watched the clouds come rolling in. Below is a pic take with my old cell phone.
It was a little intimidating to be honest. I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs but the sky did not have the same effect.
The wind picked up, thunder happened at a distance but not a drop of rain fell. Clearly it happened on the east side of town. In fact there was a rainbow just a little later that I saw. However, I decided I would head out back and see what the sunset was like given the weather or lack of weather earlier in the day.
My first thought was this was not going to be that great, but I persevered and sat outside with Sims and waited.
And it did not disappoint. Maybe not as spectacular as some of the other days but it was still a pretty sky overall.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what is going on in the world, the world is still beautiful and we can sit back in our own small space and truly enjoy this incredible creation that we live in.
Tomorrow is back to work, and another week will go by, but remember, there is beauty all around us, we just have to take the time to look for it.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Beth from Beth William’s Photo Blog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share
Posted on July 27, 2020
And so life goes on…. Florida is spiking like crazy and I am staying at home as much as possible. The virus came closer to home with my sister in law, who lives oversees, being diagnosed Covid Positive. Then one of my husband’s employees was diagnosed Covid positive. We are now quarantining for the next 2 weeks dependent on his test this last week. It is a bit of a wake up call that it really can affect you no matter how much care you take. The good news is that I am okay with staying home 🙂
Work happens 4 days a week, and all is good. Our vacation was cancelled and that was a real bummer. Hopefully August 2021 will be a better year. Now to figure out what to do with 24 days of vacation.
Oh, I so want to travel. What better to do than to go back in the archives and see what has not been edited. Maine 2018, and we had just traveled through Bar Harbor. What to do the next day? I suggested we go to the “less busy” island adjacent to Bar Harbor. Less busy was a good description. What we had more of was mist. That said mist gave me the opportunity to go back and play with black and white images. This month I am sharing 30 minutes of a day in the mist.
Mist or fog creates this eerie kind feeling as you walk along the banks of the water. However, I did like the mist slipping around us. One day we will be able to get on the road again, and I have to be honest I look forward to it. I am sure you do to.
Please stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend April of April White Photography and see what she has for you this month. Check out her Facebook page as well.
Posted on June 30, 2020
I have to confess that being stuck at home makes it hard to come up with new blogs each month. However, this month I happened to read about the Saharan Sand Storm that was moving across the Atlantic ocean towards the USA. Who would believe that a sandstorm would cross 5000 miles of ocean to affect another continent. The storm is predicted to impact Florida and Texas, and then head up even as far as Canada. One of the positives of the sandstorm is apparently sunsets, so I headed out to the Everglades National Park to catch the sunset.
Of course, I was not alone. There were plenty of folk out watching the sunset. This seems to have become the go to place just lately. I have been there on evenings when I am one of 5, and the place is really creepy and lonely, and when it get’s dark it really gets dark.
I guess every photographer had the same idea, lets see what we can get from the Sandstorm. And for each one of us, the evening definitely showed up. There were also just folk around watching the sunset. My struggle is how to social distance in this situation where there are too many people in a small area. I was able to walk away from the crowd to some extent. Added to that Palm Beach County mandated masks in public places and half the crowd had a face covering missing. Given that Florida’s Corona Virus numbers are spiking daily (3 days ago it was approximately 5000, 2 days ago in the upper 8000’s, yesterday was 9585 and today we are at 8530 and it is not even 2 pm), I am all for people wearing a mask. I have a few medical friends who have clearly stated that you do not want to be intubated. It is not fun.
I still don’t have a new zoom lens, so get in close to the sunset is still not happening, but I keep looking. Now that we are not traveling overseas, I may use my savings to get one. Simba needs to get his infected tooth out first (which is happening this week). Taking a cat to have a tooth removed, is like having a crown put on a human. Yikes. Hopefully I will be able to get both done soon.
I loved the layers of cloud, and I hope that some of this was contributed by the sand storm.
So what causes a Saharan dust storm. It does appear that the evaporation of water, along with the earth warming causes a shelf of sand between the dessert in the north and the savannah in the south causes dust to form. Smaller storms cause downdrafts, resulting in dust storms developing. Large amounts of dust are lifted into the atmosphere. The African Easterly Jet, a strong wind, was weak this June, and this allowed for more dust to accumulate on the west coast of Africa. When the wind picks up again, it then transports a very dense mass of dust.
What we are seeing now is the results of the storm across the southern states of the USA. Added to that, there appears to be another one coming through within the week. This one is set to affect south Florida more densely, so the scientists say.
Whether I saw some effects of the Saharan Sand Storm or not, I loved the effects of the clouds.
There are definitely some pro’s to the sand storm. Apparently sand storms love dry air. Hurricanes hate dry air. So while we are seeing sand storms, we are less likely to see hurricanes. I hope that is true because I am anticipating an active hurricane season. Temperatures in South Florida are high, and the air is oppressive. When it does rain, it may cool things down briefly, but then the humidity level escalates, and I am back to feeling miserable again. Richard, who loves the heat, has mentioned a few times that the air conditioning is a welcome relief just lately.
Another positive of these sand storms is that apparently, is that these dust storms bring much needed soil and nutrients to Florida and to the islands around us. The Amazon Rain Forest also receives their nutrients from these dust storms.
Apparently the sand storms also bring nutrients to the ocean in the form of phosphorus, which is a vital nutrient for growth. Who would believe it, but it is said that alga loves dust. The negative is that red tide apparently loves dust as well. We know what red tide does and we do not necessarily want that in Florida. That is a swimmers nightmare. Although that would be one way to keep people away from the beaches in this Covid-19 period.
A big positive for me is the beauty the dust causes to the sunset. Dust particles scatter the sun rays and leave us with an awesome sunrises and sunsets. Milky skies and the colors seen, will be dark oranges and reds..
There are a number of down sides to the dust storm as well. Microorganisms harmful to humans and plant life may get caught up in the dust storms. Fungal spores and bacteria may also be carried in the dust storms, which may cause harm to coral reefs.
Another negative affects people with respiratory issues, allergies, etc. Have you ever been off road riding where you are causing dust as a result of some crazy driving. I have, and my allergies kill me. Sometimes those dust particles in the storm don’t stay in the upper levels, and drop down and affect us. If you are not wearing a mask for Covid-19, you may want to reconsider the mask for the dust storms coming through. You do not want to land up in hospital with breathing issues, especially with Covid-19 spiking in a lot of areas that the dust storm will affect.
Unlike the dust storm, Alligators are native to Florida and a trip to the Everglades would be a bust if you did not see one. Of course it does help is there is someone fishing. The gator is curious and interested in what is being caught, it’s probably interested in the fisherman as well to be honest.
This particular evening was pleasant, even wearing a mask. Right now I have a handful of surgical masks. They are great except that they are supposed to be worn in freezing cold temperatures during surgery. That makes them extremely hot to wear. But if I can protect myself, and protect my family, while protecting you, I am willing to do it. It just makes sense for me.
Of course if you have the opportunity to share the sunset with a loved one, or a friend, this would be the perfect place to visit. The skies this evening were a splendor for the eyes. Ironically when I left home, I was not sure that I was going to get much.
We did the same as these folks a month or so ago. Richard gets antsy and needs to do something. We took our chairs, our mugs of wine, and we headed out to go and watch the beauty of God’s creation.
The night is done, I have packed up and am walking back to my car, when I take one last look. Yes there are still some photographers, hanging on, waiting to get the last shot, or just catching up with one another. This is the beauty of meeting other photographers at places like the Everglades National Park. We all love creation and the magnificence of it.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Beth from Beth’s Photoblog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share
Posted on June 29, 2020
It’s three months into the pandemic and I am watching the US numbers closely. My state is one of those that is spiking. When I first started looking at stats on March 18 the USA had 8500 positive corona virus tests. Today we have 706 830 a of 10:45 am. I was not watching deaths at the time. However today we have 37,175 deaths. My heart grieves for those families who have lost loved ones and who are unable to say their goodbyes properly. 63 510 people have recovered in the USA, that means there are a huge number of people still out there battling with this virus.
Florida on April 10 had 16828 positive tests and 37 deaths. Today they have 114 018 and 3329 deaths. Palm Beach County (where I live) now has 12498 positive cases and 490 deaths. Florida is spiking. Yesterday we had over 5000 new cases, and by the end of today we will be over 9000 new cases. Palm Beach county has now mandated as of yesterday everyone to wear face masks. It’s pretty strict, and it comes with fines if you do not comply. Many are freaking out, me I am good with it. All I need is to get a decent mask. Surgical masks are meant for negative temperatures and South Florida is not cold right now.
Life has changed for me as a result of the virus. I am now permanently working from home. I have to confess, I work pretty well from home. Best news is that I do not have to travel 2 hours a day to work a day. My 10 hour day is now an 8 hour day. I moved my computers home and had Richard and Cameron haul a huge 4 drawer metal filing cabinet up the stairs. If the office wants it back they are going to have to carry it out themselves 🙂
My desktop looks like something from the space shuttle monitoring room. I have my own personal 30 inch computer monitor. I have my work laptop. I also have two 20 inch work monitors. It is nice not to have to have work items on my personal computer, and it is also nice to be able to log directly into the server.
My office has to be a lot tidier these days. We have a zoom meeting at 9:30 am every day. I don’t work Fridays so I can be a little more lapse on the 3 day weekend. I have had to create boundaries as well. I tend to work beyond my hours because I am in my space. Before my meeting, Houdini, the quaker parakeet I rescued, has to be moved out of my office to the other room. He gets to come back at the end of my work day. He is kind of noisy.
I also have to create breaks. When you work in an office you are moving. You get up to go to the printer. You move to the kitchen for that cup of coffee. You head to your bosses office to meet. You are moving without thinking about it. Being at home, my office is complete. The printer is in my office. I make my hot drink when I wake up and my protein shake before my 9:30 meeting. I also bring up a flask of ice water. I am set for the morning. I am not moving.
I set a time on my calendar for lunch, I planned to walk around the community circle. I did that once and decided it was too hot. I moved the fan this morning to the front of the elliptical machine. I guess that is going to have to happen again. Florida is stinking hot right now and we have not even got through July and August.
My home office has become my place to be. Beyond my work day, I head to my couch to watch the news or to read my book. I am glad that I still love my home office space. This virus has definitely made changes in our lives. I was lying on my couch, in my office, the other night and I looked up to see what the sun was doing, when I looked up I saw the light shining on my flower arrangement. I loved the light on the tulips and I love this spiky greenery that makes me think it may be a thistle. Straight away I got up and grabbed my camera with my macro lens and started taking some images.
Just as you think life is opening up, life seems to be closing up again. As Florida spikes so my home office looks more appealing. I am happy to stay at home. I am not keen to be out and about and exposing myself or my family to the virus. My daughter in law has immunity issues. She is vulnerable. I want to do my part to keep her safe. So, I will stay at home as much as I can, and I will wear a mask when I go out. For me, it is the right thing to do.
Please stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Ivana from MaMagare Kidz Photo in Croatia and see what she has for you this month. Check out her Facebook and Instagram pages as well.
Posted on June 1, 2020
The stay at home is kind of lifting in Florida, we’re in Phase 1. I confess to being a little skeptical about numbers in Florida. That said I have been at home for the past 2 months with a partner who hates to sit still. Me I love it. I love working from home, although I need to learn when to stop. That is probably my biggest problem. You don’t pack up and drive an hour home, so you carry on working. I am getting better, but even as I write this over the long weekend, I know there are things I need to do.
For the past few weeks I have noticed some friends heading out to the local section of the Florida Everglades, Loxahatchee National Park. I mentioned to Richard that it was open and that if he wanted to go out we could go there and hopefully not encounter to many people. This is typically my sunset spot and on any given night it is kind of lonely and there may be at most 10 of us.
Right now, I have not been going to the park because my zoom lens died and I have yet to get another one. I am challenged with what I want. Of course, I want the 150-600mm lens so that I can get up to the eyeball of the creature that I am photographing but the thought of carrying that lens around has me reconsidering. I also want a lens I can travel with.
So we headed out with our chairs, our tumblers of wine, and I took along my 17-40 mm lens, and my 24-135 mm lens. So no close up of the sun heading down, but that was okay because it turned out there was no visual of the sun and the evening was very cloudy.
When we got to the park half of the county was visiting as well. So we tried to practice social distancing and set up our chairs away from folk and then sipped wine as we waited for the sun to set.
In these images I played around with my 17-40 mm lens and I really loved the super wide angle the this lens offers. I cannot wait to use it in different settings.
In these images I switched to my 28 – 135 mm lens. This was the closest I was going to be able to zoom into the horizon.
I had bought the 18 -40 mm lens after using my daughters fish eye in Rochester. We were also supposed to be on the road in August, or rather on a plane 😦 , and I wanted the 18-40mm lens because I had visions of super wide open images. However, I am not sure that I see this happening. I am going to be pretty disappointed if it doesn’t. We had plans to visit my son in law’s family in Macedonia, and the kids were going to have a wedding reception for his family.
We were heading from there down to the Lake at Ohrid in Macedonia and then on to Skopje. From Macedonia we were off to Croatia, starting out Dubrovnik, then heading up to Split. then further north to Zagreb. From there I had plans to head to Berlin. I have traveled through places in Germany, but never to Berlin.
So with all that potentially on hold, I kind of suggested that maybe by the end of the year Australia may be an option. This is a trip we really need to do. So we have to weigh up where this virus is going to take us in a few months and what international travel is going to look like. Do we really want to be on a plane again? And landing in a foreign country may mean having to go into quarantine for 2 weeks. That’s like your vacation time. May as well just stay at home.
Looks like the virus is going to rain on our parade. As did the clouds in the distance. Fortunately for us, it never made it to where we were sitting.
We were happy to be honest, just to be outdoors and for me taking the sunset again. I tried to use people where I could to create silhouettes.
Silhouettes are a favorite of mine and there is that part where you don’t have to pose someone and the look is kind of natural and they are not aware that you are taking their pic.
Luckily the sun was starting to set and I was hoping that I could get something out of this cloudy sunset.
Evenings like this on the Everglades is always fun. You become the food source for all sorts of bugs, my favorite being the mosquito and the yellow fly. The yellow fly is actually worse for me as I react to it as I would to a bee sting. Nice sweet swelling that is as itchy as can be and normally results in me swallowing anti-histamine before I get any real relief.
I have learned to make sure, that even in summer, that I have a long sleeve sweater with me. That way I can try and stay away from being part of the food chain.
There were a few local fishermen hanging out, along with a couple of gator on the far side of the water. The Everglades is a natural habitat for gator. We have kayaked inside the waterways and come across all sizes of gators. It is kind of creepy, especially when the water is low or when the gator goes down under water. I keep wondering where it may come up and pray that it is not right alongside the kayak.
As the last of the sun was setting, I switched back to the 18 – 40 mm lens to try to get a few more wide angle images. The clouds created dynamic dark images with that tiny flare of light.
I was not the only person with a camera out there. Actually it is a popular spot for photographers and you never really know what kind of sunset you are going to get. Our day is done and all that is left to do is pack up and head home.
Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, and for chilling out with the sunset.
You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.
Posted on May 31, 2020
We are stuck in the early stages of opening up with the Phase One of the Covid-19 pandemic. I have not been out, other than to the local grocery store, and obviously I have not been taking photo’s. So I revisited unedited images from our trip to New York City last June. While I am talking New York City and pandemic, my heart goes out to the people of New York, and especially to the families who have lost loved ones. New York was decimated by the virus and it has been hard to watch their numbers climb and I am grateful that the virus is abating. Yet even 79 deaths reported today is too many.
Planning a trip and trying to acommodate everyone’s preferences is really hard. For the most part we agreed on where we wanted to go. Some years ago I had blogged with a friend who had walked The High Lline, starting in Chelsea Market area and walking up to Hudson Yards, where we were going to take in The Vessel, which was another interesting aspect of New York that I had read about.
Walking New York is tiring. There is a lot of city, and we averaged about 6 hours a day for the 5 days we were there. What I will say about New York City is their transportation system is fantastic. However, if you are traveling at peak hours on the subway, be prepared to feel like a sardine in a tin. With all those folk on the train it is hot, and I felt like I needed to be able to get off and breathe. We spent about 1.5 hours walking around Chelsea Market. Another hint, we were too early and a lot of the places had no opened up as yet. But we got a good idea of what was in the market area.
In 1924, New York city began the creation of an elevated railway line and in 1933 the first train ran along the lines and by 1934 the train line was fully operational and providing drop offs to companies along it’s route. By the 1980’s the train usage had been significantly reduced and a port of the train line had been dismantled. In the 1980’s there was a move to preserve the structure, but nothing ever came about. In 1999 the demolition paperwork of this railway lined had been signed. However a non-profit organization had the foresight to see what this line offered, and began the process of advocating for it’s preservation.
In 2006 the railway line was given the green light and approved as a public park. In 2009 The High Line Art was founded. Walking along The High Line was a treat and I was able to see some amazing works of art. While this image above was not on The High Line, I actually took the photograph from The High Line. This amazing painting is on the side of the Chelsea Market. The artwork was painted by a Brazillian street artist name Kobra. What you don’t see is that there was a light pole in the middle of the image starting at Mother Theresa’s head and going right down the middle of the staircase, which I had to edit out. It’s not perfect but I managed to get it looking okay about 6 hours of painstaking editing the pole out.
The walkway traverses through old building and high rise buildings with beautiful gardens. Below the flowers is the artwork of Firelei Baez. According to the informational posted on the walkway by the High Line Art “Feirelei Baze references European decorative arts spread by colonial empires. It depicts a sinking ruin of the Haitian Sans-Souci Palace. In this work Baez examines incarnations of Sanssouci: the 18th century Rococo palace built by Frederick the Great, the palace of Haitian Revolution leader and proclaimed first King of Haiti Henri Christophe, and Haitian revolution leader Jean-Baptiste Sans Souci, who was assassinated by Henri, Christophe”
The artwork, also gave a nice framing for the typical New York City street.
Wherever I looked, there was something to see, and most of the time I was a good couple of yards behind my other 3 travel mates. I think every so often they were forced to stop and look for me. Randomly this cross below stood out to me in the middle of the city scene. I had no idea what the three women were meant to represent but I looked up what the words meant, and the Golden Door is meant to be a beacon of promise encouraging immigrants to embrace a new land and what it offers. The words “I life my lamp to the Golden Door” is the final line of the poem “The New Colossus” written by Emma Lazarus.
Another Kobre image that I only manage to capture a portion of was this image of Andy Warhol and Frida Kahlo. Also in the image but hidden behind the building were keith haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I wish I had been able to capture the entire painting but this was the best I could get between the two buildings.
The clock “Silent Agitator is the artwork of Ruth Ewan based on an illustration produced by labor activist Ralph Chaplin. Set in The artwork was produced for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union and shows the clock with the words “What time is it? Time to organize” refering to commonness of the clock in relation to labor struggles.
AMOR, AHAVA and LOVE are the artwork of artist Robert Indiana and are described as pop art sculptures. The word Love is translated into Spanish, Hebrew and English, representing the three most spoken languages in the city, celebrating the diversity of immigration to the cit of New York.
Below is art of Ryan Sullivan. He uses resin, fibreglass and epoxy to create his amazing work. According to The High Line display notice, “Sullivan’s latest artwork are the result of an industrial casting process guided by spontaneity and improvisation: he applies pigment and resin in multiple layers to an open faced mold. The resulting works use the non traditional painting concepts of figure and space, while also probing the limits of what a painting is. For The High Line, Sullivan installs four new resin paintings in conversation with the surrounding cityscape and plantings”
Added to the beautiful artwork is the incredible reflections seen in the glass buildings as you meander along the walkway. Added that is the mix of old and new in as far as buildings are concerned. You have the buildings that date back to early 1900’s in contrast with these high multi story glass buildings.
All along the walkway are beautiful gardens, benches to stop and catch your breath and to rest your weary feet. We are heading to the end of our journey and while my feet are tired I have no regrets requesting that we do The High Line walkway. I enjoyed every minute of it. We are heading to our next destination and you will get a glimpse of it in the last image. Yes, we are heading to The Vessel, found in Hudson Yards.
If you get a chance to walk The High Line I would encourage you to do so. You can do it at your own pace. Be prepared to stop and look at artwork, and snap photo’s. People watching is great fun as well. Make sure you allow yourself a couple of hours to do this, and don’t forget to stop by the Chelsea Market as well.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Mindy Sauvageau is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share