Friday, August 3, 2018

The Week That Was

Time is slipping through my fingers and suddenly it's August. A time of mellow fruitfulness and sudden showers, as the poet might say. There's nothing mellow at the moment in the Keys as people are taking frenzied vacations here and clogging up the highway in a manner more befitting winter. However early yesterday morning Rusty and I went walking on the mound at the Old Bahia Honda Bridge, and while our backs were turned, a sudden rain storm came roaring in from the Straits of Florida and caught me totally by surprise. 
 Rusty came galloping up the slope, interrupted in his exploration and he ran ahead to get to the car. I plodded along behind him, my phone shoved in a plastic bag, luckily the dog hadn't taken his morning dump yet, and my big camera not suffering unduly as it is actually rain and dust proof as advertised. My Lumix FZ300 was an excellent used camera purchase.  I got one right for once. Anyway I found Rusty huddling under a bush next to the car looking like he was back living the life of a stray.  He likes having a dry bed to go home to, after the walk is over. So do I.
 I managed to buy a new iPhone 8 after much hassle on my only day off. Apparently Verizon gave my social security number to another customer three years ago when I switched to AT&T and they had to unfuck the problem while I sat around in their rather pleasant office waiting to be declared fraudulent free. Nothing is easy. However the cellphone signal is splendidly strong, a feature of AT&T we noticed on our road trip where we kept losing the signal. And the new phone has a remarkable camera. I tested it at Smathers Beach deploying the telephoto and getting remarkably crisp pictures.
 Obviously its not as good as the big camera but it is quite an improvement. Meanwhile we wait for the peak of hurricane season to strike next month, so at the police station everyone is getting their vacation time out of the way. As a result I am working all the hours god sends and feel senility creeping up on me prematurely with each hour of overtime under my belt.
I crave an afternoon in a museum or wandering the lanes of Old Town as the afternoon breeze is very pleasant under clear blue skies, when its not thundering. Instead its a dog walk, an exercise class and sleep; rinse wash and repeat. I have often said working in Key West is a pretty good proposition if you can get good work. No weather anxieties with winter snowstorms, even if hurricanes do occasionally disrupt life, plus traffic problems are light compared to the snarls on freeways Up North during commute hours.  
The bigger scooter helps to make the journey to and from work interesting, and that's lucky as there are plenty of trips back and forth in my future this Fall.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Losing the Earth

I am not fond of white letters on a black background but the prologue to this extraordinary article from the New York Times is printed that way. Give it a few paragraphs and the page becomes much more easy to read as the print reverses and becomes  black on white as you would expect. The words printed  defy all colors or shades: they are extraordinary.
It is decidedly worth reading as it explains, in short how it is that we are headed to environmental catastrophe in a way that did not actually have to happen. The newspaper comes in for criticism for running the article so in the end climate change becomes one more round of finger pointing. Had I children or grand children I'd be thinking really hard about this problem. As it is I expect I shall be dead before the worst comes to pass.


Image result for climate change

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sunset

Lobster mini season doesn't seem to have been so bad this year, bad in the sense of so many people coming down to the Keys and combing every inch of seabed for lobster. I did a lot of hunkering after I got back from vacation last week expecting crowds and cars but it wasn't so bad. 
My world is circumscribed by back roads and dog walks and waiting to come to terms with another long bout of being at work. However as the Miami Herald reported it the two day non commercial lobster hunt in the Keys yielded five arrests, no doubt just as stupid as the one reported below, if not as spectacular.
From the Miami Herald:

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Kyle Chesney’s arrest report, Lawhon’s boat “did not give way to our patrol vessel and made an erratic series of swerves to the right and left” while driving in Kemp Channel near Cudjoe Key in the Lower Keys around 2 p.m. Thursday.
Chesney and Lt. Andy Cox turned on their boat’s blue emergency lights and siren, but not only did Lawhon not stop, he “sped up and made a sharp right-hand turn, which caused him to almost fall out of his boat,” Chesney wrote.
As he was fleeing police, Lawhon was throwing lobsters overboard. Chesney said he counted Lawhon, who is from Sopchoppy, in Wakulla County on the Panhandle, tossing eight.
“Lt. Cox and I yelled at Lawhon to stop and that he was under arrest,” Chesney wrote. “He continued to toss lobster overboard.”
He finally stopped his boat, but Lawton again threw more lobsters from his vessel, according to Chesney’s report.
The two FWC officers yelled at him to stop moving and put his hands over his head. They grabbed Lawhon and placed him onto their vessel and cuffed him.
I took Rusty out when the sun was near the horizon and we spent a  happy hour chasing will-o'-the-wisps under thunderheads amid threats of rain.
 I did my usual of walking and standing and pointing the lense while Rusty trotted back and forth smelling invisible stuff. It was a very pleasant evening far from the crowds.

 It wasn't a glorious riot of Technicolor in the sky but I enjoyed the shifting angles of light on the clouds.

 Lots of excellent cloud formations.



 I messed around a little with some filters built into my Lumix FZ300 camera.

Many years ago I carried a Minolta single lense reflex camera around with lenses filters and adapters in a bag and fiddled with the apparatus for each shot not knowing how the pictures came out. Nowadays with a single camera, a long variable lense and a powerful battery not only can I take decent digital pictures for small reproductions such as I post here, but I can transfer them easily to my phone for editing cropping and posting. And it's all free and in house.  Amazing!

In this picture you can see the limitations of the 600 mm (!) telephoto in the warm evening air. It's evocative if not crisply defined:
With these so called bridge cameras, a bridge between point and shoot pocket cameras yet not quite all the way sophisticated and crisp like proper single lense reflex cameras of professional quality, it's hard to get depth of field soft focus shots but it gets easier with practice and messing around with all the various settings.


I close these pictures with a final photo, though in point of fact I took it at the beginning of the sequence when the sun was highest:
It was a very pleasant time needing no one and nothing else, me my dog and my camera. And the car with which to get home as darkness fell.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Rusty in the Woods

I am back in the flow, working six nights and off one as we pick up summer slack, use vacation time, create overtime and try to train new dispatchers to fill our gaping ranks. 

And so an old man’s fancy turns to thoughts of recent adventures...

...with his dog, naturally.  

And those exotic Appalachian woods of western North Carolina.