Tuesday, June 23, 2020

West Summerland Key

After a long weekend of answering 911 calls and dealing with people and their problems I was looking forward to spending lots of time all at once with Rusty and the camera. I try to take a picture or two every day to experiment and keep my hand in but on my days off I like to put in extra effort. 
I didn't feel like Key West especially as it had rained but despite my late start I hoped clouds might provide some amusement and Rusty always whines when I stop here, impatient to get out and run.
I was in a  meditative mood looking for shapes and colors as usual, finding odd lumps in the clay being worn away by rain. This stuff used to be at the bottom of the sea and was dredged up by the railroad engineers where they planted their bridges and they used it to build up the ramp to get the track to the bridge. Since the road was reopened to visitors overnight anglers have come back leaving all sorts of detritus which I don't need to show. The beer bottle put me in mind of the question as to who is the corona virus, the lazy human or the efficient virus...
This unhappily gormless person failed to dent my pleasure. He apparently showed up in a Jeep to fish but didn't last long. 
I was trying to frame this gumbo limbo against the sky to emphasize it's growth since Hurricane Irma decimated all greenery here. These trees grow easily and quickly in South Florida and they at least are repopulating this desert. As I knelt the silver Jeep came down the newly paved access ramp and parked right next to me. I got the picture and moved away. The helpful half wit got out and said "I can move if my shadow is in your way." I was very polite and said no thank you and scrammed.  Social distancing? What's that?
I returned while he was still fruitlessly casting and got this picture of his vehicle which had plenty of room to drive on and find a space to pull off the track. Instead he just dumped it there and seemed surprised when I didn't want to engage with him. Aside form the fact that social distancing suits my reticent personality, I am constantly surprised by people who don't give strangers a chance to be six feet away before they try to get permission to approach. Had he puled forward and greeted me from a respectful distance I could have engaged in the usual dreary niceties of pointless small talk. As it was his lack of awareness freaked me out. 
On a happier note it is clear that growth is regenerated in this place where the storm wrenched everything up and turned growth to dust.  I actually had some lovely gumbo limbo shade to sit in on my favorite piece of cement buried in the undergrowth!
As much as the rain on my days off has annoyed me it has done some good.
I was sitting waiting for Rusty grumbling about how flighty butterflies are, darting hither and yon. I had read on a  camera forum how dragonflies dart but tend to go back to land on the same twig repeatedly which makes them easier to capture and I had put that into practice. Butterflies on the other hand never sit still and they were annoying me...until this one stopped close by long enough for me to get a bead and relieve my irritation. Thank you. I am never going to be an insect macro specialist but even with a regular zoom lense they display beauty.
And then I tried a different view of my much photographed bridge. Out of focus with some vintage overlay courtesy of Snapseed. I think I like it just for a change, as I do know what the bridge looks like. This is the pinhole camera view!

Monday, June 22, 2020


From a couple of recent walks in the wilds I gleaned some pictures of shapes and colors and flowers. No stories, no words, just pictures. I really enjoy following Rusty and spotting contrasts and colors while he sniffs around independent of me and the camera. I don't always have much time but in camera stabilization and a quick eye produce pretty pictures even if they aren't going to set the world on fire and I like to share them.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunrise Over Water

Sunrise pictures taken on a  cloudy morning over Key West Bight, known to the salespeople as the Historic Seaport. I don't spend a lot of time trying to tell stories with sunrises and sunsets as people a lot more involved with selling Key West are busy doing that, but these I thought worth sharing.

Saturday, June 20, 2020


I lost my bearings slightly on a humid overcast evening near  eight o'clock. Rusty and I often take my camera for a walk on the empty back roads where I learned to walk again after my accident. In those days I strode up and down pushing my walker, developing calluses on my hands and sitting down on the walker seat when I went too far and got tired.
I always walked too far, trying to reach the next signpost so when i struggled back to the car I could measure roughly how far I had walked by driving the same distance. Walking here now with legs that need no support is a reminder of how much exercise had to do with my recovery. I have become a bit of a fanatic which isn't surprising as I am pain free and cannot feel the plates and bolt and pins that hold my pelvis together and support my right leg. 
It was thanks to my daily walks and my formal exercise classes and endless physical therapy paid for by my excellent insurance. It was thanks to these miles of empty roads frequented by hardly anyone and certainly not the highway crowds driving a mile away madly fixated on Duval Street, the yellow brick road of their dreams.
Well I thought. My legs work so I had better use them. So I took the plunge and wandered into the tangle of roots and branches and thorns and water. 
The abstraction of light and dark, the warm salt water swirling round my calves, the struggle to focus the camera on the spaces in between. Rusty watched and slipped silently under the bushes to do his own recording of events.
It was a moment of tangled exploration face to face with nature, off the trail looking at all the shapes and colors not seen from the road. I felt like a proper explorer with two strong legs.
We both got back to the road safely. I admit it wasn't a long hike just a few minutes but I thoroughly enjoyed putting my legs to the test. I never even came close to falling over. I hardly got scratched at all and Rusty was looking at me like I was an idiot. Good times are back. I can trust my legs, I think.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Key West Bight

After all these years I still take great pleasure in being out before dawn with dog and camera checking out the shadows and light. 
I combine dog walking and picture taking in a  way that would not be possible without modern image stabilization, and my camera first came on the market in 2014 and yet it is equipped with stabilization I would have died for forty years ago. 
Not only does it make tripods obsolete for a lot of impromptu photography, stabilization gives me a chance to exercise Rusty and record my surroundings as I go. I am not a fan of the "good old days" because in the good old days my wife would be a cripple, I would be dead and photography was very expensive. there were a few other problems in the "good old days" that I'd rather not go into right now as they are causing ferment and unhappiness enough.
Pretty soon Turtle Kraals will become part of the "good old days" as The Boathouse moves in and takes it's place. Upscale is the new Key West and nothing emphasizes that like the disappearance of Turtle Kraals. I wonder who remembers Jabour's Trailer Park where The Marker resides right now? From down at heel to upscale in one  easy generation.
I was walking across the city parking lot in front of Waterfront Brewery and I looked up and saw this, a tree canopy, and I liked it.
I try to find the good in the recent rains even though I am not very good at accepting rain when I want sunshine all the time. However there are puddles with which to spot some decent reflections. Or as decent as I can figure.
I happened to be looking across the water as the sun came up and I got a bunch of sunrise pictures which I thought I might post all together this weekend. 
Rusty's synapses went off track and he decided for the first time ever he wanted to walk down the dock in front of Alonzo's to inspect the boats. I hated saying no but I am an obedient soul when I see a sign saying No. I need to train him to read for himself.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Night Time

Just because the lockdown is over doesn't mean I can't enjoy empty streets in the early hours. With Rusty.
Not necessarily alone but the occasional bicycle at five in the morning will catch me by surprise as I follow Rusty down the sidewalk.
In the overhead illumination I saw an underwater scene by Rick Worth made real on the wall of the Waterfront Brewery:
Buddy Owen's Fish Wagon known as BO's for short, has lived a lifetime on Caroline, a shack of a place, by now a symbol of the gritty Key West sought by visitors seeking authenticity in a  conformist world.
I amuse myself by observing punctuation in signs, especially when they don't have any. Fresh fish: please wear a mask. I guess humans appear  to be exempt?
I read about the great mask debate in other places but the city of key West has required masks inside businesses and social distancing outside. If you don't agree please don't visit. It's a community standard adopted by the city and  majority of residents for everyone's benefit.
The Facebook epidemiologists promoting masks as tools of oppression are the epitome of the need to be cruel that permeates social media. I have given up using Facebook except for family connections and to check the state of the Highway with the handy Sheriff alerts. I like the calm rational approach to life's little problems and the Internet disagrees with my approach.
I have to say there are days when I look back at the road block with enormous ostalgia. The Sheriff tooka  strong stance and proved that the lockdown worked to keep the virus out but that period also saw police incidents drop to near zero. Now that the city has reopened not only are we catching up on abandoned cars and long standing parking violations but drinking, passing out in public, arguments and drunk driving and crashing are all back as though nothing happened.
As crimes go they aren't the sort of brutish nasty violence or cruelty seen in big cities and large populations but on the nuisance level we are firmly headed back to the bad old days of inconsiderate bad neighbors and thoughtless drivers messing things up a bit. I have to say it was expected but the reality is a disappointing reminder of how little we learn in periods of reflection. From a serene low key commute I have seen some hair raising driving as visitors attempt to break all records getting to and from the fabled city of their vacation dreams. And I should note I am not a slow driver as my wife will attest through her own irritation. Yellow lines and dangerous passing zones tell me one thing and tell the day trippers they are a challenge to be overcome. The other morning a white truck was being winched out of the mangroves along a straight clear stretch of highway. How it ended up down there rolled over I cannot for the life of me imagine.
Rusty is a reminder that good things persist through it all, as he waits patiently for me to stop mumbling and fiddling with my apparatus.