Insects #198D, 181E, 159D, 194D, 195D, 157B, 178B, 196D, 206B, 202B & 203B

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July 27, 2013

Having just purchased my first new camera in thirty-three years last month, finally saving enough money to buy a Canon EOS 60D body and an adapter which allows me to use all my old FD lens, I checked out several digital photography for dummies books from my local library to get caught up on modern technology.  One such book I read was about macro photography, even though I have been shooting close-ups of flowers for several years.  Owning a 50mm, 100mm and 70-160mm zoom macro lens along with 25mm and 50mm extension tubes, I thought I had been getting extremely close to the flowers I photographed.

However, while reading the book, I learned that I was not utilizing these lens and extension tubes in the right combination in order to take full advantage of their macro capabilities.  I was truly amazed by what I had photographed the first time I went outside after reading the correct match-up of lens and tubes to get 1:1 magnification, which is considered life-size.  To see the first photos I shot after having this photographic epiphany, see my previous post Flowers #1369B, 1371B, 1387B, 1376B, 1388B, 1379D & 1390B.  This latest post was shot the following day.  That afternoon, I grabbed my camera and went outside to shoot the smallest flowers that were blooming in my front yard.  I have absolutely no idea what type of flower this is, knowing only that it grows to a height of six to eight inches.  As its bloom is maybe at most a half-inch in diameter, I sat down on the grass and started shooting away.

While shooting, an insect seeking sweet nectar landed on the flower I was focused on.  Again, I have no idea what type of insect it was, however, through the lens it looked about the size of a honey bee.  Thanks to my new digital camera, I was able to shoot many more photos than I ever would have been able to with my old film camera.  After about a dozen photos,  removing the viewfinder from my eye, I was amazed by what I saw.  This insect, which I now believe to be some sort of gnat, was much smaller than what I had expected it to be.  Needless to say, I was impressed not only with my new digital camera but also with that of my new-found knowledge of macro photography.

In the month and a half owning my new camera, I have been sticking my face in close to so many flowers that I have developed an allergy rash above my left eye, that being my non-camera focusing eye.  Shooting nearly 7,500 photos in the past six weeks, I have also strained my right triceps muscle and my carpal tunnel is flaring up rather severely whenever I hold the camera too long.  Then there’s the lower back pain I get from bending over.  However, what’s the old saying, one must suffer for his art?

Steven H. Spring

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The Royal Baby

July 22, 2013

With the seemingly nonstop news today that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labor (or labour as the British spell it) and has given birth to a baby boy, I just do not understand why American television goes gaga over anything concerning the British Royal Family, which in itself is nothing more than a largely ceremonial symbol of its long ago world empire.  America fought its Revolutionary War more than two centuries ago to rid ourselves of the British empire, yet now days, we seemingly cannot get enough of any and all things British.  It was just last year that American television seemed nearly consumed with the Royal Family’s celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year as the Queen Mother.  Now, it’s the birth of Prince William & Kate’s first child, who is deemed worthy of being third in line to the royal throne.

Great Britain, like much of the rest of the world is in the mist of severe economic hardship, yet seventy-five percent of its citizens see nothing wrong with supporting yet one more royal mouth to not only feed, but to provide a lifelong gift of extreme luxury.  If they don’t mind the Royal Family and its untold number of princes, princesses, dukes, duchesses, counts, countesses, barons and knights living a life of opulence, that’s up to them.  However, for the American press to go ballistic over anything to do with the Royal Family is rather asinine.

Chris Matthews, a political pundit on MSNBC devoted his entire show, ironically named “Hardball” this afternoon to the birth of the royal baby, as if no other worthwhile news event occurred today.  Isn’t there still a war going on in Afghanistan?  Mr. Matthews was so giddy with excitement that he concluded his show by announcing “We had a baby.”  Really?  We had a baby?  Maybe I should send flowers.

Call me unsentimental, however, I have far more important things going on in my life to get worked up over the lives of pampered millionaires who have absolutely nothing to do with me, let alone this nation.

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #2177B, 2179C, 2184B, 2183C, 2186B, 2188D, 2175B & 2190B

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Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family.  There are many plants that have lily in their common name; however, not all are true Lilies.  Two examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies and Peace Lilies.  True Lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their range can extend into the northern subtropics as well.  This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow.  They are not especially particular about soil, neither type nor pH level.  Their only requirement is well-drained soil.  Lilies grow best in full sun; however, they may thrive in partial sun as well.  An interesting fact about this plant is that most Lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

The Ballad Of Trayvon Martin

July 14, 2013

Once again, it is America’s archaic wild, wild west gun laws and now “stand your ground” laws in thirty states that all but give a shooter the legal right to kill anyone if they feel “threatened” that has resulted in one man walking away apparently free from any legal consequences while a seventeen year old young man lay dead in one more senseless shooting that never should have happened.  As George Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges late Saturday night, and having listened to former prosecutors and defense attorneys giving their opinions throughout the course of the trial, it seems to me that like the OJ Simpson murder trial, the prosecution was out-lawyered during this trial.  I had never heard of MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom, a former prosecutor, before this trial began, however I firmly believe had she been the lead prosecutor for this case, George Zimmerman would not be a free man today.

I must admit that this is certainly not one of the better songs/poems that I have attempted to write, as I wanted to finish it by the time the jury returned its verdict.  Given more time, and thanks to the editing capabilities of word processors, I will be able to make additional proof readings and make any changes I see fit in the days to come.  Hopefully, I am a much better photographer and guitarist than I am a writer or poems and songs.  However, that may be due only to the fact that I have spent many more thousands of hours shooting pictures and playing my guitars than I have writing songs.  That being said, the following is dedicated to the slain young man’s family.

The Ballad Of Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin, never stood a chance
Shot down in cold blood by a man who wanted street cred
Poor George Zimmerman, he wouldn’t have done anything differently, he said
Didn’t have any choice in a shooting that left young Martin dead

“Fuckin’ punks, these assholes always get away”
Were the words Zimmerman used when calling non-emergency 911
Based only on the color of his target’s skin and the clothes he wore
Pity poor Sybrina Fulton, she had to bury her teenage son

The lawyers say Trayvon Martin was the aggressor, it was he who stated the fight
Snuck up from the dark and sucker punched the neighborhood watch captain
Bashing Zimmerman’s head down against the sidewalk
His attorneys said in court over and over again and again

Busted poor George’s nose, and giving him cuts on the back of his head
He was the one screaming for help the attorneys said
Martin had his hands over Zimmerman’s bloody nose and mouth they assailed
However, the dead boy had no blood or DNA under any of his fingernails

Thought he was a cop, talking the policeman’s jargon
“They always come out at night,” George Zimmerman had said
It was God’s plan he told a popular talk show host
For him to shoot the young man dead

Witness after witness testified that they saw Zimmerman on top during the fight for life
Trayvon was armed with a concrete sidewalk was what the attorneys said in defense of their man
Blows were raining down by the assailant from above MMA style
Yet it was Zimmerman who had this type of training, Martin had only one small cut to his hands

The gun magazine was fully loaded and one in the chamber, locked and loaded, ready to fire
The defense team tried to say Trayvon was up to no good
Tried to run if only he could, but shot down where he stood
Profiling indeed, as he was nothin’ but a young black man in a hood…ie

George Zimmerman had an attitude and a loaded gun
Young Trayvon Martin was armed with only a 20 ounce ice tea and a bag of Skittles
Stalked like an animal, poor Trayvon Martin didn’t stand a chance
Now he won’t be able to attend his high school’s senior dance

A “creepy-ass cracker” was following him was what he told his friend Rachel Jeantel
Then the sound of headphones hitting the ground and him yelling “Get off! Get off”
There seems to be little doubt that it was George Zimmerman
The life of Trayvon Martin he did steal

Disclosure: For approximately twenty-five years, I have loved the candy Skittles.  And to further muddy my way of thinking defense lawyers might argue, sweet ice tea has been my drink of choice for more than fifty years.  I will admit to having on more than one occasion boasting that I make the best ice tea in the world.  However, I do not believe these facts had any bearing of my interpretation regarding the facts of this case.  And, this disclosure was in no way written to make light of such a tragic incident.

Steven H. Spring

Sunset Over The Pacific #111D

Sunset Over The Pacific #111D

July 13, 2013

Sometime during 1981, bound for a road trip that could be taken straight out of On The Road or especially Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, four individuals, including this photographer left Columbus, Ohio in a massive recreational vehicle, heading for California after making a very short stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  We did also have Mary Jane and Timothy Leary along for the ride as well.  Although I had never driven such a vehicle, I did drive nearly ninety percent of the trip.  By the time we returned home, a mere seven days later, only two of us could say they made the entire journey.  One was dropped off in Minneapolis, the other caught a flight during our return trip home, I believe out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma heading also back to Minneapolis.

This photograph was shot somewhere between Los Angeles and San Diego, where we pulled over to spend the night before heading up to LA the following morning.  I believe I shot at least one roll of 36 exposures for every day we were on the road, even though this was not a sightseeing trip.  To view four additional photographs of this same sunset, please see my post Sunset Over The Pacific #112C, 113D, 115B & 113B.  This picture was posted separate from the other four because I like the size of a singular photograph versus a smaller size when posting multiple pictures and this was my favorite of this particular series.

Steven H. Spring

Sunset Over The Pacific #112C, 113D, 115B & 113B

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July 13, 2013

Sometime during 1981, bound for a road trip that could be taken straight out of On The Road or especially Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, four individuals, including this photographer left Columbus, Ohio in a massive recreational vehicle, heading for California after making a very short stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  We did also have Mary Jane and Timothy Leary along for the ride as well.  Although I had never driven such a vehicle, I did drive nearly ninety percent of the trip.  By the time we returned home, a mere seven days later, only two of us could say they made the entire journey.  One was dropped off in Minneapolis, the other caught a flight during our return trip home, I believe out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma heading also back to Minneapolis.

These photographs were shot somewhere between Los Angeles and San Diego, where we pulled over to spend the night before heading up to LA the following morning.  I believe I shot at least one roll of 36 exposures for every day we were on the road, even thought this was not a sightseeing trip.  To view what I consider the best, or at least my favorite of this series of the same sunset, please see my post Sunset Over The Pacific #111B.

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #2021H, 2025D, 1995E, 2034B, 2015B, 1999B, 1997D & 2028D

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July 6, 2013

Although not a true Lily, Daylilies, whose scientific name is Hemerocallis, are so named as its flower typically lasts for only twenty-four hours.  There are more than thirty-five thousand named and officially registered species in its family.  Native to China, Korea and Japan, Daylilies can thrive in many types of climates.  Called the perfect perennial because of their stunning colors, ability to withstand drought and requiring very little if any care, Daylilies come in almost every color except pure blue and pure white.

Daylilies thrive best with a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight, though darker flowering plants such as purple and red need some shade as the darker colors soak up too much heat.  These plants adapt to a wide range of soil and light conditions, however they do best in slightly acidic, moist but well-drained soil.  Some Daylilies bloom in early spring, some in summer and some even in the fall.  The blooms come in many different shapes.  Depending on type, each plant should bloom for thirty to forty days.

I must admit that when I first became serious about gardening and photographing flowers about fifteen years ago (one of my earliest childhood memories was helping Grandma dig up her Canna bulbs every fall), I thought Daylilies were just those funky looking orange flowers you see growing everywhere, even along the roadside.  One artist friend of mine once told me that old folks referred to them as shithouse Lilies.  Through the years, I have come to learn that there are many glorious Daylilies that I would just love to have growing in my gardens if not for the limited space I have outside my apartment.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too great or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring