Tuesday, May 31, 2005

One Man's Garbage Can Is ... Well ... Another Man's Garbage Can

When I was about five, my father gave me a Kodak Brownie box camera. I loved it and would photograph everything in sight. Actually, I would look down into the viewfinder and click the shutter. Putting film in the camera was not yet a concept I fully grasped. Of particular interest to me were garbage cans as subject matter.

Knowing about this early photographic predilection of mine, my wife gently chides me for creating a "garbage can" photo whenever I capture an offbeat subject. For some reason this life guard's chair off Evanston, Illinois caught my eye. My wife waited patiently while I made several shots, and then reminded me about garbage cans.

Later on, I sent a number of Lake Michigan shots to a publisher of travel guides. I threw this one in at the last minute as a "heck, why not?" entry. Out of several dozen shots submitted, guess which one the publisher chose? Yup.

Moral to this story, if the picture interests you, it will probably interest someone else. Go ahead and take it.

Click on photo to enlarge. Copyright 2005 James Jordan

Anti-Itch Meditation explores decision-making on his post "Decision Making and the Will of Me."

And by the way, if you can figure out the meaning of this photograph, leave me a comment. I'm still trying to figure it out.
Posted by Hello

A Life's Work

I came across this old farm implement along Highway EE in Door County, Wisconsin. I was struck by the rustic beauty of the setting and took several photos of various pieces of equipment sitting in the meadow. I was struck later by the visual irony of this photo. Here was a piece of machinery that was once used to destroy the grasses and wildflowers that now grace the scene. Looks like the flowers got the last laugh.

To be sure, this implement was used in a noble task - to break ground to feed a family and perhaps others. But its lasting legacy is now to point to a time long past.

I'd like my legacy to go beyond "he sure took care of his family." I'd like to leave some footprints of lasting beauty on my journey.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17 NIV

Monday, May 30, 2005

Light of Liberty

I grew up during the Vietnam War. Early memories recall Walter Cronkite on the evening news giving the weekly casualty reports. It was somehow comforting that the enemy numbers were always bigger than ours. It gave me hope that we were winning. Kids in my class at school talked about their older brothers receiving draft notices and being sent to Vietnam. I fully expected to be sent there myself when I finished high school.

The war and draft ended before I started my senior year. While I know some who have served, I don't personally know anyone who was killed in the line of duty. And I guess that's the point. The few have served their country - and some given their lives - so that the many may enjoy the benefits of freedom.

For that I am thankful.

The photograph below is of 30 Mile Point lighthouse at Somerset, New York. Click on photo to enlarge.

Mark D. Roberts has additional thoughts on Memorial Day.
Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Here's Looking At You

Hey, it's Memorial Day. Why not go to the zoo? Pack up the younglings and don't forget to take a camera (my younglings are too big for this now - see yesterday's post).

This photo of a snow leopard was taken at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. There was a very tall and stout chain link fence between us, which was good. It was hard to read what this guy was thinking - friend, foe or food. A 70-210mm zoom lens set fairly close to the chain link threw the fence out of focus to the point of becoming nearly invisible. You can see traces of the fence in the edges of this photo if you look hard. I could draw a parallel about how taking a long view of things takes the edge off the problems of today, but I'll spare you.

I had this photo up as a wallpaper on my home computer until my wife asked me to change it. She said she didn't like how the leopard's eyes followed her around the room. I guess that makes this an effective photo. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Zoos are great. Lots of exotic wildlife along a leisurely stroll. Neither photographer nor animals are in a hurry to get anywhere. Photographing animals in the wild requires a ton of patience and an extremely long lens, of which I have neither.

This guy does it the hard way.

© 2005 James Jordan

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Course Of Our Days

In looking for a photograph of a lifespan, the best I could do is this one of day lilies, taken in my backyard. Not too bad a choice. Day lilies beautify the day, rest, and then do it again the next day. And again. Until they die. Not a bad pattern to follow.

Today my youngest child graduates from high school. Her three older siblings are in various stages of creating their own lives. Some 6,500 days ago, I remember thinking about when my youngest would be finished with high school, how old my wife and I would be, and how very far away that day seemed to be.

That day is here.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

Technology vs. Beauty
Sometimes the good things in life can get in the way of the best things.

© 2005 James Jordan

Friday, May 27, 2005

Tranquility, Part 2

Another tranquil setting. This is Kangaroo Lake in Door County, Wisconsin at 5:30 in the morning. The lake was smooth as glass. All was quiet except for the song of birds in the trees behind me. Nature at rest.

I mentioned yesterday that it takes some work to find tranquility. God's character is peace. It takes some doing to cut through the clutter of my life to get to the peaceful clearing where God dwells. But there's no other place like it.

Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Click on image to enlarge.

© 2005 James Jordan

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Tranquility, Part 1

You have to get up real early to get a photo of tranquility. And even then it's not a sure bet. This shot in Grand Marais, Minnesota required rising at 5:00 a.m. and trudging through a light mist to the harbor. A blue filter added some interest to an otherwise gray scene.

Tranquility is just as elusive in everyday life. It takes work to find it. But it's there, somewhere among the busyness and general hubbub. Having the right filter helps there, too. More tomorrow.

Click on image to enlarge.
© 2005 James Jordan

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Always a Plan B

Drove all afternoon to get to the Great Lakes' premiere lighthouse. Hoping sun would stay out to throw light on the scene and keep the sky interesting. Find lighthouse. Find spot on shore. Set up tripod and filter pack. Watch sun go behind cloud. See sky turn blah. Muted colors. Nothing special. Take pictures anyway.
© 2005 James Jordan

Plan B

Import mediocre photo into Photoshop. Decrease levels. Increase contrast. Shift tones to blue. Add lens flare. Moody. Ethereal. Northwoods mystique. You can almost hear the loons.

(Click on image for enlarged view.)
© 2005 James Jordan

Monday, May 23, 2005

Artificial Light

People can easily impress themselves with their ability to create and control their own destiny. That is, until the real Creator comes along and dwarfs even the best of what people can offer. Humankind's understanding and creation of light is laughable compared to the One who said, "Let there be light." Heck, we're still trying to figure out how the stuff works.
© 2005 James Jordan

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Extreme Ballooning

For any of you who ever held a cluster of helium balloons and wondered if you could lift off into the air if you only had enough of them, John Ninomiya has the answer – yes, you can. John flies in a harness on which are attached clusters of giant helium-filled balloons. Releasing ballast – usually jugs of water – causes the cluster to rise. Descent requires slicing balloons open with a knife (John carries several with him on each flight).The rest is up to the wind.

John is a licensed hot-air balloonist who took up flying cluster balloons five years ago. Describing his hobby as a cross “between an extreme sport and a personal eccentricity,” John is one of only a handful of cluster balloonists in the world. He is currently engaged in “States of Enlightenment,” a multi-year project in which John will make at least one cluster balloon flight in each of the 50 states.

Last July, John attempted a cluster flight at the Wausau Balloon Festival as part of the Wisconsin leg of his U.S. balloon tour. The morning flight was cancelled due to inclement weather, but things cleared up later in the day to make a late afternoon flight, and a little bit of history, possible.

Clicking on the images, below, will enlarge each image.

Helping hands. A dozen volunteers arrive early in the morning to fill helium balloons and assist John Ninomiya on his Wisconsin cluster balloon flight. (Click on image to enlarge.)

© 2005 James Jordan
Harnessing helium. John Ninomiya (center right) directs volunteers attaching giant helium balloons to the harness he will use in Wisconsin's inaugural cluster balloon flight. (Click on image to enlarge.)

© 2005 James Jordan
Strapped in. John Ninomiya straps himself into the harness of his cluster balloon. In the foreground is the equipment he will take with him on his flight. (Click on image to enlarge.)

© 2005 James Jordan
Ready and waiting. His cluster balloon fully assembled and ready to go, John Ninomiya awaits clearance from the FAA to commence flight. After a lengthy wait, it is determined that the flight will not occur due to low clouds and poor visibility.

© 2005 James Jordan
Back to square one. John Ninomiya returns to the airport hangar in the back of a pickup truck after his cluster balloon flight is scrubbed.

© 2005 James Jordan
Wait and see. A frustrated John Ninomiya is consigned to wait until the weather clears before accomplishing Wisconsin's first cluster balloon flight.

© 2005 James Jordan
Clear skies. The skies over Wausau clear up in the afternoon ... perfect weather for John Ninomiya to attempt the first cluster balloon flight in Wisconsin.

© 2005 James Jordan
Off to the launch area. John Ninomiya's cluster balloon is led to the launch area at the Wausau airport by several assistants.

© 2005 James Jordan
Launch! John Ninomaya completes the Wisconsin leg of his "States of Enlightenment" cluster balloon tour.

© 2005 James Jordan

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Dusk at Portland Head Light Station, Portland, Maine.
© 2005 James Jordan

Welcome to my travelogue

Along every journey through life, there are people, places and circumstances that serve as points of light along the way. You know them ... friends, parents, mentors, dreamers, special places you return to every so often. Every contact adds richness to the person who is you.

This blog is a record of people, places and things that have caused me to stop and wonder at the marvelous passage we call life. And like a good traveler, I have photographs to share. Feel free to join me on this travelogue ...