There are two times each day when magic happens. Sunrise, when we can look forward to the new day with hope and anticipation. Sunset, when we can reflect on what the day gave us. When you have or can make an opportunity to visit these two times don't pass them up. They are precious and we have so few times to see them.
Dora and I are always on the lookout for adventure and exploration and the Outer Banks is one of our favorite places to go. Although we have been to the Outer Banks a number of times on our own and know our way around we also like to participate in workshops hosted by Tommy White and Alistair Nicol. Workshops led by Tommy and Alistair are packed with photographic opportunities, locations, lots of tips, and hands on instruction. In addition, it is a good opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones.
The Outer Banks consists of a string of barrier islands mainly off the coast of North Carolina. The northern most portion of the Outer Banks extends into the southeast corner of Virginia. The Outer Banks are rich in history, including the original Roanoke Colony established in 1584, only to vanish in 1587. The Outer Banks is also home to the Wright brother's famous flight from Kill Devil Hills on December 17, 1903. Wild horses can be found around the islands, which according to legend, are descendants of horses either left by the Spanish or washed ashore from a shipwreck. Ocracoke Island was the last refuge of Edward Teach. We know him as the pirate Blackbeard. Edward Teach was killed in a battle on Okracoke in 1718.
Still life photography represents some of our best work. Still life can be a lot of fun. It will challenge what one knows about composition, lighting, and subject matter. Still life gives us new ways of looking at the ordinary things around us. Images can tell a story, they can be humorous, they can touch the heart and bring back memories. Artists find themselves surrounded by ordinary things and they find ways to show them in their best light. Some of the images we have produced simply did not work. Others surprised us in unexpected ways.
Above photo by Dora McGee
MO Cruise, October 16-24, 2020
The MO Cruise, on the St Johns River, originated with two Catalina 22 sailboats, The Mari-Lee, sailed by Vernon Senterfitt, and Outrageous, sailed by John and Anita Kjallberg. Sadly, Vernon passed away. Anita planned the trip for us but at the last minute unable to go. Dora and I have wanted to make this cruise, but time has always gotten the better of us and we haven’t been able to go. This year, due to COVID-19, we weren’t sure we would be able to make it. In spite of the turmoil of 2020 and the increased storm activity in the southeast somehow things worked out and the cruise was on!
The Hawaiian archipelago is made up of 137 islands spread over 1,500 miles. Hawaii was the 50th state to join the United States on August 21, 1959. The state capital and Pearl Harbor are located on the island of O'ahu. We visited O'ahu and the big island of Hawai'i in 2006. In 2020 we made a return trip to the big island of Hawai'i. Dora and I know more about the big island of Hawai'i simply because we spent more time there and researched it more.
The Hawaiian tradition of welcoming visitors to Hawaii with a lei is not practiced as it once was due to cost. Friends and relatives still buy leis at the airport to welcome their friends and families. However, from time-to-time you may come across one someone hung in a tree or laid on a bench, just in case you need one, kind of like a hug.
"Follow your own path and let it lead you where your heart wants you to go."
Recently our path took us above the Arctic Circle to the Lofoten Islands in Norway. February might seem a curious time to travel to the Arctic, however; this time of year provides excellent photographic opportunity. The sun stays low on the horizon throughout the day, making for extended sunrises and sunsets. The low angle of the sun also makes for excellent light all day. Views of the Northern Lights this time of year are spectacular. The climate in Lofoten is influenced by the Gulf Stream and it stays warmer than one might expect. Properly dressed in layers and temperatures ranging from 28 to 38 degrees F it was an enjoyable trip. Weather changed constantly. It is the Arctic so be prepared for cold temperature, high winds, rain, snow, and ice. We experienced 40 mph plus winds from time-to-time. One day it might rain and the next snow. It all depended on a degree or two of temperature change.
A Little Bit of Heaven
Sure a little bit of Heaven fell from out the sky one day
and it nestled in the ocean in a place so far away
and when the angels found it sure it looked so sweet and fair
they said suppose we leave it for it looks so peaceful there
So they sprinkled it with stardust just to make the shamrocks grow
it's the only place you'll find them no matter where you go
then they darted it with silver just to make the lakes look grand
and when they had it finsihed sure they called it Ireland
by J. Keirn Brennan and Ernest R. Ball
Dora and I were stationed at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for four years, beginning in 1973. Our daughter, Karen, was born there. Cuba was under an economic embargo by the United States and so we were restricted to the base. Diplomatic relations with Cuba were severed in 1961 by President Eisenhower. The U.S. embassy in Havana was closed and Guantanamo Bay was isolated. We could take R&R trips to Haiti, Puerto Rico, San Juan, and other Caribbean locations but we never got to know any of Cuba, save what we experienced on the base. Over the years we would catch a glimpse through some story in a magazine or newspaper but we never thought the opportunity to return would present itself. Fast forward 54 years to August 14, 2015 when Secretary of State, John Kerry, travelled to Havana to reopen the embassy. Suddenly Americans could once again visit the beautiful island of Cuba.