Monday, December 29, 2014

The Saddest Decision ...

I'm writing this early because I won't be able to later ...

After over 13 years of love, loyalty, and companionship, the time has come for us to say goodbye to our beloved Sasha. I've been caught in a struggle between my head, which is telling me it's the right thing to do, and my heart which says we can keep looking after her for a while yet. We've known this day would be coming but I haven't been able to acknowledge it.

Sasha's spirit is still willing (and her 'attitude' is as apparent as ever) but her physical ailments have significantly impacted her quality of life. When I see her struggle to get up or hobble along for even a short distance or groan with pain when we have to roll her over to sleep, I know the time has come. When she looks at me trustingly with her big soft brown eyes or tucks her head under my chin when I sit beside her on the floor, my conviction wavers.

The wheels have been set in motion, however, and I have to keep telling myself it's the right decision. And yet ...

Come celebrate her life ... (I had earlier written 'commiserate with me' but I think it's more appropriate to remember how she's enriched our lives):

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Juxtaposition (jŭkˌstə-pə-zĭshˈən)

I hope I can repeat after Paul (from Philippians 4:11) "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." 

Our daughter's place - where we'll be in 4 weeks:

Where we currently are:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fallen Leaves

Why should I be the first to fall
Of all the leaves on this old tree?
Though sadly soon I know that all
Will lose their hold and follow me.
While my birth-brothers bravely blow,
Why should I be first to go?

Why should I be the last to cling
Of all the leaves on this bleak bough?
I've fluttered since the fire of Spring
And I am worn and withered now.
I would escape the Winter gale
And sleep soft-silvered by a snail.

When swoop the legions of the snow
To pitch their tents in roaring weather
We fallen leaves will lie below
And rot rejoicingly together;
And from our rich and dark decay
Will laugh our brothers of the May.

[Robert William Service 1874 - 1958]

Friday, September 26, 2014

A return to déjà vu

I've been keeping an eye on this spot. I've driven by it many times over the years and this year I wanted to make sure I captured it before it faded away into the barrenness of winter. I captured this scene about 5 years ago and was fortunate to have it featured on Scott Law's blog (if you haven't seen his work you should).

I'm completely in agreement with Lee Maynard: "I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it." [Lee Maynard]

And to describe this season I find it best to leave it up to the poets:
No Spring nor Summer Beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one Autumnal face.
[John Donne]

Monday, September 1, 2014

I've looked at clouds ...

"Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, I've looked at clouds that way ..."
Judy Collins "Both Sides Now" (1969)

I'm a self-confessed cloud watcher - I've been known to grab the camera when interesting cloud formations appear, out of the blue so to speak. As I returned from taking my grandson on a little picnic this past week, I pulled over along the side of the highway to grab a few frames of a scene I had made a mental note of on the way out. And tonight there was an interesting lit-up formation which reminded me of the cloud that lead the Israelites through the desert.

And I've looked at clouds from both sides too but it's the fascination I recall.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Slipping those surly bonds ...

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

written by RCAF Flight-Lieutenant John Gillespie Magee Jr. (1922-1941)

Well I may not have experienced that joy of unencumbered flight praised by Flight-Lieutenant Magee, but I did catch a glimpse of those sun-split clouds ....

Monday, July 28, 2014

In the blink of an eye

And just like that another month has flown by since I was last here. Since then my (camera) sensor has been exposed to the light many times, primarily while capturing family memories - which I'm still sorting through and developing in LR.

I'm not sure how your summer's been going but we haven't experienced very much typical summer weather (yet). Today was literally a 'wash' along with temperatures that didn't hit 60F (14C). Yesterday afternoon we scrambled to get the bbq'ing done before we were hit with another thunderstorm. I resumed my LR editing after dinner until I suddenly noticed a bright glow out the window. In the blink of an eye the sun had burst out from behind a bank of dark clouds and cast a brilliant light on the yard. Of course yours truly rushed out to watch the spectacle (not sans camera).

The brilliance lasted mere moments and then our world darkened once more. But a couple of hours later an eye in the sky opened as the sun set and the Master produced another of his master pieces for our viewing pleasure.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Up for air

Before the month of June slips quietly around the corner and into the pages of history, I had to come back here to let anyone who still comes by for a visit know that I haven't abandoned blogging.

My shutter finger has still been getting a workout although primarily for commercial photography. I finished processing the last of a series of shoots today. I went back into my archives looking for a shot to post. The one I posted was made on our trip to Calgary last summer, and it reminded me of how quickly time has flown, which in turn reminded me of this:

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

I hope all of you still active in blogland are doing well, and I shall make my visitation rounds as time permits.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Our dog Sasha, like most dogs, is fearful of thunder. In fact she knows that lightning is a precursor to thunder so when she sees it she already starts to cower. When I took her out late the other night to do her thing, unlike most evenings she wanted to go right back in - she had seen a faint flash to the west. Meanwhile I thought it would be a great opportunity to make some shots before the storm moved in.

Over the next hour I watched as the storm approached but never arrived. Although the lightning flashed and thunder rolled, the storm veered south. Several times I peered back into the house to see if Sasha had become hysterical yet, but she slept soundly through it (a blessing of old age ?).

I felt a little exposed standing out on the balcony and in the yard, but the display was both fascinating and awesome. [click on the photos for a better view]

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


"For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come ..." Song of Solomon 2:11-12

"Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Fortuitous ?

It was the evening of Good Friday. My wife glanced out of the front window and called me to come see the sky - I couldn't see it from where I had been sitting. On instinct I grabbed the camera since I hadn't captured a sunset for some time. I was stopped in my tracks before I got 10 steps out of the front door (1st photo). After taking in the scene I hurried over to the canal across the street (2nd photo).

There was nothing fortuitous about this moment. I'm not a believer in fate or chance or luck but I believe things happen for a reason - even though that may not be revealed now or in our lifetime. But it was easy for us to join the psalmist: "The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of his hands."  [Psalm 19:1]  If you're inclined, you can make this your prayer today also (click on the link and listen as you look at God's handiwork as captured below):

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The struggle ...

I have been taking a bit of a hiatus from blogging. This was driven by necessity when we had company for several weeks, but it was also driven by a sense of weariness. After almost 4-1/2 years, and approaching 700 posts, I found myself at the same crossroads that many others have - to continue or not. The decision is pending.

There are many arguments on the pro side, while the con side also has its share. I have other 'projects' clamoring for attention, and despite man's inventiveness, each day still only has 24 hours. Photography remains a passion (although the flame requires some stoking).

I am overdue visiting those who have faithfully landed here and left a comment - I shall commit to fulfilling that pledge this week.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pair for the course

We visited some friends today who are avid golfers and whose backyard faces the 18th hole of their golf course. The course is home to some rather gregarious sandhill cranes. I opted to bring the camera this time - on the last visit I left it at home, much to my chagrin.

Before long, a lone crane wandered onto the course from between a couple of houses. Grabbing my gear, I nonchalantly stalked him onto the course and got a few shots before I caught a shot (from a golfer) myself.

A little later we visited the ladies' tee-off area on the 12th hole where a female was guarding her nest that contained 2 eggs. As she kept a wary eye on me, I quickly fired off a few shots of her too - I wasn't about to find out how vigorously she would defend her nest. Perhaps in a few weeks I might be able to get some photos of the offspring.

[editor's note: our 2nd set of winter visitors is arriving in an hour; I may not be around much over the next 2-1/2 weeks but may sneak in a visit here or there. I'm told that spring is around the corner ...]

"no clubs required; I own the course ..."
"I zoomed in tight for this shot - no need to aggravate mama"

"Here she is guarding the nest"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Queen of Palms

In the north temperate zone (this year also known as the north polar zone) I could reasonably expect to see some trees starting to flower in May. I haven't quite figured out what the flowering season is in the subtropic zone. For instance, we have some 'annual' dianthus here that have been blooming continuously for almost 3 years. Hibiscus seem to bloom whenever they feel like it, and that also seems to be the case with palm trees - I haven't discovered their cycle yet either. I'm constantly amazed at God's creativity when I see the variety that exists in nature, whether that be in the plant or tree world, the animal world, landscapes ....

One of our queen palms (Syagrus Romanzoffiana) has been developing several flower pods which are 5-6 ft tall. Today we noticed one that had burst open. In the first photo you can see the large yellow flower and the open flower pod to the left of it. To the left of the open pod you can see another, unopened pod. I'll leave the flowers for a few weeks at which point a heavy cluster of large green grape-like seeds will develop. These will gradually turn an attractive orange-yellow colour and that's my cue to take action. I've learned from past experience not to let them ripen to the point where they start dropping to the ground. They become extremely soft and very sticky, and rather nasty to pick up. Instead I'll position a large garbage can beneath the cluster before it ripens and saw it off so it drops directly in the can - no fuss, no muss, no bother. In the meantime we'll enjoy the flowers.

As I was looking through some shots of this flower, I thought I noticed a smudge in the 2nd photo. Take a look at a crop of that photo (3rd photo below) to see the 'smudge'.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm more of a country boy than a city slicker. I'm happy that so many people love living in the city since it keeps the countryside uncrowded (although I realize some are there only because that's where the jobs are, mostly). However, I don't mind taking the occasional trip in to see the sights.

A few days ago we packed up Sasha and the wagon (I'll have to let you see that soon) and headed for a stroll through a small piece of historic Fort Myers (winter home of Thomas Edison). If you're up for a little nostalgia, listen along to Petula (link below the last photo) while you walk with us ...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Tin Goose and I

I've had a love affair with airplanes since I was a young lad emigrating to Canada at the age of 6 aboard a KLM Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation - that's another whole story. This week I had the rare opportunity to experience the thrill of flying in an even older vintage aircraft - a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor, affectionately known as the Tin Goose. I am indebted to my wife (who spotted an ad for flights aboard the Tin Goose) and 2 of my daughters (who presented me with the flight as a birthday gift).

Should you be so inclined, there's lots of information on this remarkable aircraft online. However, you can follow my experience below:

passengers (9) on each flight attend a brief safety overview (FAA requirement)
before the flight there's an opportunity to make some photos
the 'luxurious' interior - unlikely able to accommodate today's 'carry on' luggage

one of the 3 engines that hurtle you to your destination at 90mph (145kmph)

all aboard and ready for takeoff

captain and co-pilot are eager to go (Note: no locked cockpit door)

doesn't look quite as sleek as today's airliners

ok - check out the view

pulling back into the 'terminal' (ps - no security checks beforehand either)

If you ever get the chance to fly in this piece of history, don't let it go by. Check out this site for more information.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Going ... going ...


The summer sun is sinking low;
Only the tree-tops redden and glow:
Only the weathercock on the spire
Of the neighboring church is a flame of fire;
All is in shadow below.

O beautiful, awful summer day,
What hast thou given, what taken away?
Life and death, and love and hate,
Homes made happy or desolate,
Hearts made sad or gay!

On the road of life one milestone more!
In the book of life one leaf turned o'er!
Like a red seal is the setting sun
On the good and the evil men have done,--
Naught can today restore!

[Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Live and let live (?)

I spotted this out of the corner of my eye this afternoon - had it not been sitting on the walkway I'd likely have missed it since it was barely an inch (2 1/2 cm) long. Of course I had to capture it (only digitally of course). After I shot it (digitally of course) I had to decide whether to let it carry on with its day or not.

You might wonder why I'd consider not letting it go, but I wondered whether it might be a polka-dot wasp moth - they produce caterpillars which are voracious eaters of oleander bushes and ours comes under regular attack. But I wasn't sure. I might have to check the oleander tomorrow to see if that's where it headed - if so, it's unlikely another reprieve will be in the cards.

I haven't yet bought a macro lens for my full frame Canon, but the cheap little 50mm f1.8 ('nifty fifty') got me a reasonable set of shots which I cropped so you could see this specimen. Another beautiful piece of Creation (as long as it leaves our oleander alone).

Update: after some sleuthing around the internet this morning I discovered what this moth was called - Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth (Empyreuma affinis). So, my suspicions were correct and I'll have to check out the oleander ... hopefully before it has !

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Come Sail Away

"I look to the sea,
Reflections in the waves spark my memory,
Some happy, some sad,
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had,
We lived happily forever, so the story goes,
But somehow we missed out on the pot of gold
But we'll try best that we can to carry on ..."
Come Sail Away [Styx]

 I hope you're carrying on into 2014. If you need a momentary break from winter, then close your eyes and come sail away with me (click on the link below the photos) ...