Although I often forget it, the most beautiful and magnificent of all I encounter at the lake is my fellow man.
Below is the original image. I’m putting it here to exemplify the sort of thing I often have to do in post-processing to make an image look right. In the original, the sky is much brighter than the subject, although my eyes adjusted to that when I was standing there. For this image to serve well, I had to darken the sky behind the subject, open shadow areas, and increase saturation just a little. That was all done with Snapseed on my Pixel phone.
He walked along the shore pouring out a large bag of feed (50lb?) for the hundreds of ducks at Pelican Bay and then sat to feed whole grain bread to the geese. He told me he’s been doing this every day for years. Next time, I’ll get his full name, which probably includes “Saint” and “Francis.”
Below is a video I took of those hundreds of ducks on another day. Now I know part of the reason that they all congregate here. “Saint Francis of White Rock” tells me that he used to feed them over at the Bath House. When he began feeding them at Pelican Bay instead, the ducks somehow spread the news of where to find him.
I started with a relatively silly presentation: Fifty-three feet now I’ve grown, reaching straight across the lawn. A few more years, five feet or so, and then I’ll reach my goal: to poke the people passing by. Believe me, I can hardly wait! Haughty men will shriek, teenage punks will yell, and snotty brats will cry. Oh brothers, that will be so great!
Half-way through the same night, after reading a troublesome Facebook thread (rude remarks from John MacArthur and others, concerning Beth Moore), a more serious presentation: *When I first noticed this giant, with its long-reaching branch, I thought, “What an admirable tree, in a row of admirable trees! Brothers, as it were.” But then, one stormy night, one of his brothers was felled by a mighty wind. What once stood proud, and seemingly sound, was broken off three feet above the ground. Walking there soon after, I stopped to puzzle how this had come to be. Standing next to the fallen giant, I looked down and saw the cause: a hollow core. Not mere rottenness, but a wholly missing heart, whose absence left a void far below the surface. What happened? The wind held court and a shattering hulk was the verdict. A sad, but thought-provoking end!
Soapberry (similar to Chinaberry tree, but I THINK it’s distinguished by these translucent orange berries in the Fall). See https://haysfreepress.com/…/11/12/soapberry-versus-chinabe…/ After taking this photo, I looked at several Chinaberry trees along the path, and in every case, their berries are still white at this point.
This morning, we had the vet put down our old cat, Princess. The last few days have been painful for us, as we knew this was coming. It was especially painful for Joshua.
Yesterday, when I picked him up from work, he was holding a bouquet of flowers that his girlfriend had brought him. Later that same afternoon, her parents had dropped by his work to express their sympathy as well. I can hardly contain myself even now, when I think of the kind of love that Joshua expresses to others, and which they express to him in return. My words on the image describe a virtuous cycle.
Here’s what I wrote on Facebook: I’m thankful for special friends along the way. [EDIT: I was knee-deep in poetry when I wrote that. In plain words, “Those who are unusually good at showing love tend to have friends who love them back in equal measure.” Photo bomb is by Rascal, who has a lot to learn in this regard.]
Our oldest cat, Princess, has a tumor, and has weakened to the point she can barely walk. Tomorrow, we’ll have the vet put her down. As anyone who loves their pets knows, this is extremely painful. The picture below is one I took about 13 years ago, shortly after I bought a Sony DSC-V1 with “Nightshot” infrared capability. I have several other shots of her sleeping on the bed with a very young Joshua. He has always loved her well, and this is especially hard for him.
*Rascal is not really a good cat, at least in regard to his sister cats. Nevertheless, he has his moments. Today he said, “Can’t work with me sitting here? Yeah, well, you didn’t pray yet today. So here’s your opportunity, Mr. Hepp!”
Removing detritus from the moss garden, I found these “bird’s-nest fungi, aka “splash cups.” I read that they get their name from the fact that falling rain splashes out the silver peridioles (spores). Last year, I found some and wrote the poem “Earth Trumpets.” (https://www.bhepp.us/2018/11/earth-trumpets/)
This little video is based on a photosphere my Pixel 3a put together. I used Theta+ to direct where the viewer “looks.” There are smoother presets, but I had specific things I wanted to draw to the viewer’s attention.
I took this picture of my shadow over fallen Aspen leaves while descending from high camp under Mount Columbia. While I still haven’t figured out what that “caboose” is at the back of my shadow, I’m going with a more whimsical interpretation: this is the shadow of a centaur with trecking poles!
Early this morning, we crawled out of our warm sleeping bags. The temperature was right at freezing, and a stiff breeze never died off in the hours of darkness. During the night, I had decided that I should not summit with my two climbing buddies. Whether from sympathy or prudence, they decided none of us would summit. Mount Columbia remains on our list of 14ers to climb.