Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

All Right, Line Up Now

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Gulls like to congregate on the beach at Headlands Beach State Park between Mentor and Painesville, Ohio, on the shore 0f Lake Erie.

But I’d never seen them lined up in a row like this.

I was imagining that a head gull was telling everyone to line up and then led some exercise drills, e.g., flapping their wings while standing in place.

Notice the boy standing next to the line. Shortly after this image was made he tried to frighten the gulls into flying away.

In the background is the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse.


Anchors Aweigh

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The original lighthouse in Vermilion, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie was razed years ago, but the town has built a replica.

The lighthouse stands in front of what was a museum, complete with a ship’s anchor on the lawn.

Both were standing watch over the lake during a recent visit that I made.

Prepare for Landing

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This Great Blue Heron was flying around on the north side of the Vermilion River.

We wondered if it might have a nest over there, for it appeared to land in the trees and disappear. Later it showed up and sat on a tree branch for a while.

I liked how in this image it is stretched out and showing off its full profile.

Cactus and the Clouds

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Dark clouds do not also means storms are coming. They don’t even necessarily always mean that rain is coming.

Many photographers prize what they call storm light. It often occurs when the sun pops out after a storm and illuminates the back edge of the storm.

The contrast of objects against the dark clouds can make for some dramatic images.

This image is not storm light per se, but it has some of its qualities. There was no rain and no storm from those dark clouds in the background.

Yet I was able to take advantage of the edge of those clouds opening up a path for direct sunlight. It arrived in time to give this saguaro cactus a late day warm lighting.

The image was made near Tucson, Arizona. Those are the Santa Catalina Mountains in the distance.

I’m Gonna Be Like Him, Yeah

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When I made this image my purpose was to catch a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad volunteer trainman in a candid moment.

He was standing by the entrance gate to the platform at the CVSR station in Independence, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb. I’m not sure if he knew I had photographed him.

He seems preoccupied thinking about the work facing him in the boarding of his passengers.

He was assigned to a steam excursion train that I and hundreds of others were ticketed to ride.

But first the regular CVSR passenger train, which can be seen in the background, had to finish its work in the station before the steam train could board its passengers.

It was after I downloaded this image that I noticed the boy to the left who appears to be looking at the trainman.

Maybe he isn’t, and maybe it’s just my imagination. But the expression on the boy’s face caught my attention. He seems to have a look of admiration as through he is impressed with the trainmen and their uniforms.

If so, he belongs to a long line of children who were awe struck in seeing railroad conductors and trainmen in their passenger uniforms while at work on their trains.

Presumably, over the decades of passenger train travel, boys have looked up to conductors and wanted to follow in their footsteps. Many might have done so, although that is more likely to have occurred in another time than today.

Although it was written for a different context, the words to the Harry Chapin song Cat’s in the Cradle came to my mind. “I’m gonna be like him, yeah. You know I’m gonna be like him.”

Maybe this boy will some day become a CVSR volunteer so that he, too, can wear a passenger uniform.

That dream might have started here while he waited to board a train.

Written by csanders429

September 19, 2017 at 7:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Not What I Thought

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When I saw this bird soaring overhead I thought it was a hawk. It had a wingspan like a hawk and was riding the thermals as hawks are known to do.

But then I went online to try to identify what type of hawk that it is. To my dismay, I determined that this bird is a turkey vulture.

Turkey vultures have an image problem with many people. That is rooted in a number of things including the belief that the bird carries disease.

Another thing working against the turkey vulture is that it is a scavenger, not a hunter. It forages for dead animals and doesn’t kill any on its own. Hence, turkey vultures are not seen as warriors as are hawks, which attack their prey.

A January 2016 National Geographic article concedes that vultures may be viewed as the most maligned bird in the world even though they play a necessary role in the environment.

Then there is the term “vulture,” which National Geographic said many consider a  living metaphor for greed and rapaciousness. It cited Charles Darwin who in his 1835 diary wrote that vultures are “disgusting,” with their bald heads that are “formed to wallow in putridity.”

Such is the power of an image that a bird that I viewed as majestic when I made this image I now see as something else.

Somewhere in this anecdote is a lesson about the power of reputation and beliefs and why something can be seen as desirable in one context but repulsive in another.

Written by csanders429

September 18, 2017 at 8:02 am

On Second Thought I Understand Why It’s There

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When I first saw this sign I thought that it would be obvious that a snow plow would not go beyond this point.

Of course, when I made this image it was in August and anyone could clearly see the water at the end of this boat launch on the Vermilion River in Vermilion, Ohio.

But I have also been here in the winter when the ground was covered by snow making it a challenge to determine where land ends and water begins.

I guess it is just more convenient to leave the sign up all year ’round than to put it out and take it in.

Written by csanders429

September 17, 2017 at 7:03 am