A couple of years ago we visited my mother-in-law’s home state of Maine to spread her ashes on the waters of Casco Bay. It was a nice day to be on the water, to meet her family, and to say goodbye. The sun set on our way back to shore as we passed a couple of the lighthouses she loved, the Bug Light on the left (formally known as the Breakwater Light), with the Portland Head Light in the distance on the right.
I’m not used to being on boats and was surprised at how quickly we passed by and how little time I had to set up the shot. It’s not at all sharp thanks to the haze over the water, but still I think a lovely reminder of the peaceful end to the day we said goodbye.
Given the circumstances, we had a good visit to see family in Mississippi after my mother-in-law passed away. I debated whether I should bring my camera or not, right up until I left for the airport, but in the end decided that I might as well bring it since it packs up pretty small and wouldn’t require much extra effort.
My job for much of the week was to keep the young children entertained while the adults did the adult stuff. There is a short path through the woods behind the house that we liked to take which yielded my favorite picture of the week, if not the year, so I was glad I brought the camera if only for that one picture of the two youngest kids.
I grew up in the east but didn’t get into photography until shortly before we moved to Oregon, so I have better memories than pictures of the birds of my youth. So whenever I travel back east, I’m always on the lookout for old friends. Our last day there was a quiet one, the kids having left the day before, so I had some down time for bird-watching and was again glad I brought the camera.
One picture I wanted was of the mockingbird that often hung out near the house. Like all the birds there, it was pretty skittish, but after sitting still on the porch for long enough, it eventually came close enough for some pictures. It was cloudy so I went for a high key look, which will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it.
I didn’t bring my big telephoto lens or my tripod, it wasn’t that kind of trip, so many of the pictures are pretty soft. Nevertheless, it was nice to be reacquainted with family and friends alike.
After a lengthy illness, last week my mother-in-law passed away in her sleep. Out of respect for her privacy, I won’t say much more, except that she was always kind to me and made me feel welcome from the first time I met her. I am saddened by her loss but thankful she got to see her children and grandchildren before she passed, and that she suffers no more.
She didn’t like to be photographed but I’ll pay tribute with a picture of something she loved: hummingbirds. I never got a good picture of her birds, the dozens of ruby-throats that swarmed her feeders, never had the right equipment with me or the right luck. But I did enjoy standing near them and just listening as they buzzed by my head as they flew past to feed, and watching as they dove down from the trees.
This little bird is not a ruby-throat but a rufous hummingbird I photographed here in Oregon years ago. Not a great picture, and not one I have up on my main site, but sadly it’s my best hummingbird picture to date. Perhaps that will change one day, I’ve cleared out some space in the backyard and was wondering what to put there. This past week I thought of planting a little wildflower garden in her honor, stocked with plants to attract the fantastic little fliers that we both love.
Goodbye, Mom, and God bless.
Another in my line of goofy self-portraits while out hiking, this one taken last weekend on the trail from Multnomah Falls to Larch Mountain. I didn’t make it all the way to the top of Larch Mountain and took this on the way back down, a fallen tree made a nice bench in front of the large tree.
This is a whimsical take on Rodin’s The Thinker, I also posed in the classic pose but I didn’t like the shot as much since my hat threw my face into shadow. I didn’t get the classic pose quite right anyway, my right elbow was on the wrong knee and my left hand was wrong as well. I guess I’m not only no Rodin but no Dante in front of the gates of Hell either.
It’s funny how when you see the self-timer light on the camera blinking, you realize you can’t remember the details of a famous pose. This happened to me in the Tetons a couple of years ago, I was trying to do the Heisman pose and realized I didn’t remember the details of that one either.
This was only my second time out hiking this summer and I felt all of my 40 years by the time I got back down to Multnomah Falls. I was sore all over and pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to move the next day, but thankfully the only thing still sore 24 hours later were my calves, and even they weren’t doing so badly.
Perhaps I don’t have one foot in the grave after all.
Ashley bangs out a rep of pull-ups to prove how tough Texas children are. She needn’t have bothered, I was convinced after the one-handed push-ups.