Ah the fun that an old man can have with the simplicity of a small piece of an already beautiful thing. How light reflects, creates shadows, small valleys and rises. The color, already vibrant, can be made to seem to make a solid into transparency. All with the simplicity of a bloom and a small maglite. Add the fact that in can all be done within the comfort of eighty degrees when it’s 101 outside.

It somehow seems a bit of cheating the mindful practice, using artificial means to achieve what used to take hours of waiting until the natural light became what you needed or wanted. I long to be of the nature like Ansel Adams. I had read of the lengths that Mr Adams would go (or wait) for the images to form to his liking. But then I read his description of the making of his haunting image: Moonrise over Espanola.

                                                                                               ©Ansel Adams

From Ansel Adams, in Examples:

“We were sailing southward along the highway not far from Espanola(NM) when I glanced to the left and saw an extraordinary situation—an inevitable photograph! I almost ditched the car and rushed to set up my 8×10 camera. I was yelling to my companions to bring me things from the car as I struggled to change components on my Cooke Triple-Convertible lens. I had a clear visualization of the image I wanted, but when the Wratten No. 15 (G) filter and the film holder were in place, I could not find my Weston exposure meter! The situation was desperate: the low sun was trailing the edge of the clouds in the west, and shadow would soon dim the white crosses.

I was at a loss with the subject luminance values, and I confess I was thinking about bracketing several exposures, when I suddenly realized that I knew the luminance of the moon—250 c/ft2. Using the Exposure Formula, I placed this luminance on Zone VII; 60 c/ft2 therefore fell on Zone V, and the exposure with the filter factor o 3x was about 1 second at f/32 with ASA 64 film. I had no idea what the value of the foreground was, but I hoped it barely fell within the exposure scale. Not wanting to take chances, I indicated a water-bath development for the negative.”

Realizing as I released the shutter that I had an unusual photograph which deserved a duplicate negative, I swiftly reversed the film holder, but as I pulled the darkslide the sunlight passed from the white crosses; I was a few seconds too late!

Please do not think that I am comparing myself to “Da Man”, other than we both use the same tool (of sorts), the likeness fades like an under-fixed print…..Peace Out †††

“WE BUILD TOO MANY BRIDGES AND NOT ENOUGH WALLS.”   Isaac Newton….. 

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #897 – Aqua-eyed Dragonfly

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It has been kind of slim pickin’s around the grounds. Between the heat, a stomach bug and a few rounds with the black dog, I have not found much at which to aim my Nikon. I did have this young (I say young because of it’s size and the dare me attitude of a teenager) dragonfly to sit and pose for a few frames. Beats working for a living. ††† monos en theos…jas L

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #865- Finding Contentment

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“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion….In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”

William Henry Channing

A powerful manifesto to live by…†…monos en theos…jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #763 – COLOR ON GREY

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At times all the work of moving into a “used” home becomes a bit overwhelming. It seems a waste to not spend every moment of time on one of the endless projects. To take time to do something so sublime as taking the time to make a photo seems such a waste of time.

I have found that by taking a short break, grabbing my  macro kit and to wander around my grounds, I am always amazed of what you can find.

You just have to take the time to look and find a small slice of visual pie.

Feed your eyes and your heart.      monos en theos.††jim

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #719 – HEY, YOU, GET AWAY FROM MY FLEABANE!

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One of the early bloomers here in the desert Southwest is this nickel sized prairie fleabane daisy. It was a challenge trying to catch an in focus image of this possessive little spider in our 35mph wind gust. I was fortunate to have gotten focus during a short lull in the wind. This little bee decided it was a good landing spot as well. The spider said no, and chased the tiny fellow along on his way.

It’s a jungle out there, go take a peak!  en theos monos ††† jim

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #705 – SPRING BRINGS LOCOWEED

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Locoweed, the common name of a number of different plants that poison sheep, cattle, and horses on the Great Plains. Some, such as the poison larkspur, are poisonous in themselves. Others are poisonous because they concentrate selenium that exists in the soil. Among these are the milk vetch and white locoweed. The poison affects the nervous system, causing an acute or chronic disorder called loco disease.

Loco is the Spanish word for “mad” or “insane.” The symptoms of loco disease include staggering, falling, defective vision, nausea, constipation, and loss of appetite. Affected animals may suddenly jump for no reason, or run into obstacles. The acute form may end fatally in three days. Animals suffering from the chronic form of the disease may waste away for weeks or even for months.

I think I first heard of locoweed from the old TV series Rawhide. Trail boss Gil Favor and ramrod Rowdy Yates (played by Clint Eastwood long before “Make my day” fame) encountered all kinds of pitfalls and challenges driving the herd from San Antonio TX to Sedalia MO.

Little did I know how common locoweed was and I could have inspected the mysterious plant right in my backyard of Odessa TX. I was probably more interested in having a “cool” name like Rowdy, Sheb or Wishbone instead of plain ole Jimmy.

Be aware of all that you have in your backyard. † en theos ††† jim

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas #535 – Close inspection of the Mexican Hat Flower

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Mexican Hat
Ratibida columnaris (Asteraceae)

A robust, drought tolerant annual to perennial variety native to the mid-west and has naturalized throughout North America. The characteristic black, cone-shaped heads are surrounded by drooping, fire-red ray flowers with a splash of yellow accent. At maturity the upright branching stems may become woody. Prefers full sun in well drained soil. Outstanding in hot-humid climates.

“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.”
–   Henry David Thoreau  

Keep your hat on in the sun. ††† en theos ††† jim work