How can I begin to say goodbye to all my family and friends pictured below? This collection is just a drop in the bucket when you start adding pictures of friends and acquaintances in stores, zoos and around me every day. They are part of our daily lives. There’s the young man that works at Trader Joe’s that always has a warm greeting and a smiling face or the lady that works at the Safeway Deli who always asks to see my latest zoo captures. The same can be said of my favorite waitress, hair stylist or pedicure specialist. They all made my life better with their conversations and smiles.
I’ve started saying my goodbyes but am still seeking our special people I’ll meet the most like a couple that frequents the zoo who always tells me I’m an inspiration to them because I walk to help myself stay healthy in my senior years. I don’t have pictures of any of these folks, yet they’re important to me. I’ve got one more month left in Oregon to capture some of their pictures. Time to start carrying my camera with me everywhere with that in mind. :)
Looking back on my collection of lion cub photos I was reminded just how short a time they remain babies. Since we were blessed with two sets of cubs a year apart I got to witness the process twice. The cubs are so cute, so playful in their first 6 months on this earth! They romp and stalk each other in mock battle but then you’ll see them using each other as a pillow to take naps. In the process of learning how to become a fierce lion they learn how to snarl, roar and listen to mama. I’ll have a lot to share with the people I’ll meet in the Boston area zoos soon enough. These are treasured shots that will remain in my collection as I reach out to a new community, new zoos to capture.
Mother Nature put on quite a show Friday night and Saturday.. There were thunderstorms and rain combined with 45 mph winds tearing up the trees that hadn’t seen rain in 4-5 months. I got up in the middle of the night during the storm that briefly interrupted our power. The Northwest is famous for its wind storms particularly in the Portland valley and the Columbia River Gorge. Winds over 100mph are commonplace. There were downed trees everywhere. It felt like a taste of Fall with green leaf debris collecting on our front entrance slab. The swirling winds deposit piles of leaves there in Autumn and Winter.
We didn’t get nearly enough rain, in my opinion, during the past 48 hours but there was a marked drop in temperatures from the onslaught of 90 degree days we’ve had this Summer. Hopefully we’ll stay in the low 70s for a few more days. The winds are dying down already so the cleanup process will begin. I fear Eastern Oregon didn’t get nearly enough rain to put out the fires still burning there. I didn’t hear any reports from Washington on their terrible fires.
Still, we can hope this weekend was a harbinger of favorable changes coming. I, for one, love the rainy season we have here. It’s so peaceful hearing the slow rain coming down on a bed of fallen leaves. Now that’s a sound you could record and use as white noise for great sleeping.
I know that I’m moving out of necessity. I know that New England in the Fall is one of the most colorful displays of Nature at its best but if they can beat the display I photographed a few years ago it will surely astound me.
I read complaints from amateur photographers all the time about their lack of inspiration. They whine about not having anything to photograph. I’m a strong believer that if you start with your own environment and work outward you’ll never run out of material. Start with the big stuff like your backyard.
It seems like a lifetime since I did the “Frameable Keeper” series of pictures around my home at Rock Creek Apartments. It’s a beautiful place with leafy trees that change to postcard material in the Autumn. There were canals and ponds all over the huge complex that had dozens of Mallard ducks that lived their year round. We even had a resident family of Canadian geese that gave birth to goslings year after year. I lived there 4 years and never got tired of my backyard.
I even enjoyed my tiny balcony there. I made it home by planting flowers that I photographed from the day they popped out of their potting soil. I gave progress reports on their miraculous growth. Nature is amazing and always a good source of photographs.
So the photo below is a fond memory of my backyard from a few years ago. When a greedy outside investment company bought out the complex it was a sign things were changing, and not for the better. I could tell because the first thing they did was fire all the folks that worked in the management office a week before Christmas. I try not to think about the Godless people whose only God is money.
As the calendar progresses I’m looking back over my past 9 years here in Oregon. I arrived here then with all my worldly possessions in the back of a Budget rental truck. I had been out of work for months and was living on borrowed money to make the trip here. I left everyone I loved behind in South Carolina.
I started my new job at Intel Corp., a giant in the tech industry, Oregon’s largest employer. Then the recession hit. Intel still made a profit, just not as much as usual. Management had entered a get lean and mean policy just before the recession started. It proved a wise decision as we buried AMD, an upstart chip company sworn to take a piece of Intel’s pie. That was a big mistake as Intel management decided to teach them a lesson they still haven’t recovered from. When Intel got lean they underbid AMD and marketed new, better chips. AMD didn’t stand a chance.
In 2010 Intel was way on top again but decided to close one of its obsolete plants, the one I was working in for the past 4 years. Management gave us 18 months notice, an unheard of practice in our industry. They did everything they could to place us within the company and even asked outside companies to help find us jobs. I decided, at 61, I would be better served taking an early retirement. staying on unemployment for the year it took me to reach 62. I was then able to draw early Social Security and make my retirement official. I’ve been retired now for 5 years and don’t regret my decisions one bit.
During all this time I’ve built a support system of friends around me. I belong to a senior coffee clutch at our local McDonald’s. Even that McDonald’s went through a renovation, being raised to the ground and rebuilt to the flagship store it is today. It was better for their business but not especially loved by those who enjoyed the older, more friendly design. Still, we stayed loyal to the staff that remained from the old store. They were on loan to other local restaurants but returned when the new store was completed. We all gather there 3 times a week now, having lost some of our group for a number of reasons. I don’t know what will become of Pat & Dianne when I leave. There are only the two ladies remaining. I will miss them but I will not neglect to stay in touch, through email and my blogs.
The photo below was one I took years ago at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens in Portland. I’ve only visit that beautiful place once but loved the peaceful walk through a wild piece of nature set right in a major metropolitan area. This heron was a nice suprise as I looked around a small lake with a skyline full of tall buildings. I was a considerable distance away but was able to capture the bird along the reeds of the shoreline.
I put this final shot through the camera shake filter in Photoshop along with the new DeHaze filter. It improved everything dramatically. Finally I ran the shot through Topaz Simplify just to get the photo down to its basics that includes sharper edges. I resaved the image with these edits as it improved the original significantly. Now it’s in the “Wall Hanger” category. I may need to remember this shot and have a 30″ x 20″ gallery canvas print made for my new home in Boston.
Below are two types of flowers that are yet to be identified. I’ve never seen these varieties before so I can’t put a name on them. Feel free to add a comment. This flower has been identified as a nasturtium. Thanks all.
I have a love of petunias linked to childhood and my mother. She always planted them in our yard along with here white and lavender lilacs. Petunias are a hardy species that require little tending and are very prolific. Placed into hanging baskets they will overflow their container and grow a couple of feet over the edges. They come in countless colors, sizes and variations so they can be very decorative. I love their cheerful appearance.