Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday Break

A fern in morning light, outside the doctor's office. I have now passed the 3,000-photo mark since getting this camera (which brings my average to about 15 per day). This shot is #3001. (The distinction of #3000 goes to a rather mundane picture of settling cracks in the garage, as part of our keeping track of an aging house.)

Whole buncha miscellany....

Some of the highlights since last entry:

On March 31 I visited the Ted Williams Museum in its now-former location, about 4 miles from where I live. Tomorrow it reopens at its new location at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. With rare exception I generally don't follow baseball, but I wanted to capture this place before it pulled up stakes. More information about Ted Williams can be found at his official web site.

The text below is from the museum's website:

Located in Hernando, Florida in Citrus County, a few blocks from where Ted Williams himself lived during his later years, the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame is the first Museum ever dedicated, at the time, to a living athlete. While ranked as the number one tourist attraction in Citrus County, the Museum's goal is to preserve and build on the rich tradition and heritage of our national pastime -- baseball. The Museum's mission is one of outreach and education. The Museum could never operate but for the enormous assistance of a dedicated corps of volunteers who make all the difference. It is a true "labor of love" for the many who have helped the Museum since it first opened in February of 1994.

What this Museum is all about is best described in Ted's own words; "Through the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, we hope to build a lasting monument, an architectural tribute to what I think is the single most difficult thing in all of sports: hitting a baseball. We hope the Museum will become a place millions of baseball fans will visit and enjoy for generations to come. I hope you'll join us as we transform our dreams into reality."
My photoset of the museum is posted here. I also gave a CD of shots to the volunteers -- dedicated, passionate folks who allowed me to take the pictures -- in case the museum can use them.

I've also got two framed photos up at the Art League's main gallery. (At the time of this writing the website still has the March exhibit up, but when April is up my shots should be visible here.) I'll be putting more up at its theater gallery on Wednesday. In the meantime I've made my first photo sale, and have picked up a mat cutter so that I can do at least some of the presentation prep myself.

Been spending some late nights writing and doing marketing research. My last writing jag included what I call an "oh, shit!" scene: one in which something terrible happens to a character I care about. I have scenes where I know something bad has to happen because the drama demands it and I've got the sequence plotted out. I can write those pretty much as I write other scenes. But sometimes -- once in each of the 3 books of my trilogy and now in the fourth book -- a vision hits that takes me completely by surprise. At first it seems almost gratuitous and I flinch away from the writing, must take time to prepare myself emotionally to engage it. But then, as I honor the vision, I learn more and more how it fits in, and it opens realms of possibility about which I'd been previously unaware. It ends up being truly transformative for the characters themselves and for the story line.

(Then there are those scenes that I originally envision as being "heavy" and serious, until one of the characters says something off-the-cuff and makes me laugh, lightening the whole mood of the writing. Or there is a calm epiphany rather than trauma. And the scene I thought would be wrenching ends up being what I call a "pastorale" -- which is just as transformative but in a much different way. These surprising changes in the mood of the piece provide an emotional balance once I relinquish control to the process. I am extremely thankful for that guidance.)

After taking various shots of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura, Family Cathartidae) in flight, I finally caught one on the ground, close up. This one was snacking on a squirrel in a neighbor's yard. I had no idea how much their eyes look like human eyes (shown particularly well in the large view; click on the magnifying glass). This vulture stayed put during some light traffic and was unfazed by my steadily closer approach. While I was shooting it flew off once (seen in the flight series), disturbed by the noise of an approaching motorcycle. It swooped in a low circle, joined by a companion, and then returned to its prize.

Around here these are called Florida buzzards, because of how numerous they are around here outside of summer heat. "Nearly eagle-sized (spread 6 ft.)," says the Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America. These vultures range from southern Canada to Cape Horn and are migratory in the north.

I discovered that we have a fully functional nest in our porch light, which we turn on very infrequently. When I came home some days ago, two fledglings burst from the light, flapping somewhat aimlessly around the front porch until they dove for the safety of our hedge. One vanished inside it, but this one perched on top of the holly. The beak suggests the Fringillidae family, which includes grosbeaks, finches, sparrows, and buntings.

Heart-wing Sorrel, also called Hastate-Leaved Dock (Rumex hastatulus, Buckwheat Family). That's my guess, based on our National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida. At the very least it's some kind of dock. Blooms March through June in disturbed areas, ranges from northern to south-central Florida. We've been seeing a lot of these on median strips bordering the roads. The ones I photographed here as the sun began to set border the retention pond around the corner from us.

Morning fog. Taken at around 7 AM, Eastern Daylight Time on April 3. What a difference a tripod makes, when one compares this with a pre-tripod, predawn fog shot I took back in September.

I am standing on the driveway, looking down my street. The tree just to the left of the road (next to the leftmost yard light) was considerably taller before Hurricane Frances hit in 2004. Frances had knocked a huge limb -- tree-sized in its own right -- across the road, fortunately away from homes. Shortly thereafter, Hurricane Jeanne took out another chunk of the tree. Both hurricanes had been reduced to tropical storm status by the time they reached my area.

The tree was still taller than seen here, until work crews arrived to give it a buzz cut. It's grown back a bit since, but it still has that truncated look.

I was up early that morning to try to catch a hummingbird on pixel, but I've got to be faster. Mary had spotted one in our honeysuckle three times, and it was always gone by the time she called me. They hang around our place for only a short time, stopping by intermittently on their morning rounds.

My friend Barbara, who identified the shrimp plant I'd seen at Rainbow Springs, gifted me with several blooms that now sit on our southeast-facing window sill. I took 8 shots, liked 2, and played with this one. It's my most recent entry in a new group called Art Recipes -- I posted a bit of my process in the comment box below the original photo post.

My large transcription job continues, with a couple of smaller jobs popping in. Sometimes I laugh out loud as I type -- the interviews themselves are all-day affairs, and sometimes the folks involved get a little punchy. It's marvelous work.

On tap for today: attention to a different freelance job, and preparation of some pitch packages for the trilogy.


Blogger Dave said...

Terrific photos. How fortunate to get that close to a TV on the ground! Vultures are cool because they are such a perfect combination of ugliness and grace.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OOOOH....I love the first shot. It's a winner! I thought it was some sort of metal design.

I'll have to see if I can get my Asheville potter son who loves the Red Sox to come over and see the Ted Williams stuff.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Brenda Clews said...

I love the way you're letting light play through your images of landscape, which includes plants and flowers... the backlighting on the last in particular is effusive, glowing, the colour so rich, almost transcendant. xo

9:52 AM  
Blogger Brenda Clews said...

"Almost" only because transcendence is such a loaded term, and often refers to something 'beyond nature,' 'beyond the material world,' of the 'spirit'; whereas, with that light, an allowing/suffusing transcendence... (I'm sure that's no clearer, but that you understand fully what I mean!).

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just arrived here from Thingfish23.

That's a fantastic photo of enthusiastic (and very militant!) fiddleheads!

I had to laugh about the picture numbers. I haven't even begun to try to estimate the small percentage of those I take that I consider worthwhile, or at least relevant to anyone but myself. For some reason though I keep almost all of them.

9:18 AM  

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