Brown paper bags were a staple when I went to school. We would use grocery size bags to cover our textbooks. The little monster drawn on the cover is one of two things I used to draw routinely. Sometimes still do. The other is a snail. Of course there was the prerequisite lunch bag. Advertising pencils were popular, such as the Wonder Bread pencil in the photo. They were free and we could save our money for other things.
We started working with still life during the Covid pandemic to find expression when we couldn’t get out and explore. We found that we enjoyed the challenges it brought and artistic expression it provided. Still life challenges what we know about composition, lighting, and storytelling. It will continue to be one of our photographic outlets.
The Outer Banks
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.
"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, traveled to Havana to reopen the embassy. Suddenly Americans could once again visit the beautiful island of Cuba.