Tag Archive: Photography

Chronic Pain: Paying the Price

st julian wine

Four bottles of inexpensive wine we purchased at St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw. Michigan

She took the day off.

The weatherman says sunny and 55, I hope he’s right.

I busy myself getting ready for tomorrow.

Clean the house, I tell myself. Can’t leave if the house isn’t clean.

House is clean.

I put my camera equipment on the table, tripods behind the door, ready for loading in the morning.

I check the camera batteries and make sure the flash cards are installed.

No need for the GPS, we have iPhones now, so Google maps will direct us to our destination. Just to safe, I put some paper, a pen, a flashlight, and maps of Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio in my briefcase and put it with the camera equipment.

Clothes, shoes, wallet, jacket, and hat, all ready for the morning.

She will be home soon.

She sees that I cleaned the house. She smiles and shakes her head. She knows…36 years of knowing…

I want to be out of the house by 10, I tell her. And I mean 10, I add, knowing that I am fighting a battle I have lost more times than I can count.

A restless night, I get 4 hours sleep before she wakes me up.

The car is loaded, ready to go. Ten minutes late…

She drives. I want to drive but I know I can’t. I am no longer physically able to drive. I know this, but I still want to drive. She ignores me, knowing I will no longer put up a fight.

Off to Fort Wayne first to drop off papers at the hospital. I owe them $5,000.00. I hope they will reduce the amount I owe.

Pain meds.

She wants to go Rome City to see an old, no longer functioning self-sustaining nunnery.

Pain meds.

It’s not long before I start feeling every bump and thump as we ride over roads savaged by harsh Midwestern winter.

Our destination is South Haven, Michigan. Sunset is at 7:45. I want to get there by 6:00. How we get to South Haven is undetermined.

This is a Gerencser road trip, one our six children experienced many times. A general destination with no certain route.

Pain meds.

The assault on my body continues. I complain some, but I know it is not her fault. If I had known this is how painful the trip was going to be, I would have stayed home. I am glad I didn’t.

North and West we travel, meandering down never before traveled roads.

I set Google maps to no highways or toll roads. We want to see what most people never take the time to see.

Amish, horses, buggies, laundry gently blowing in the wind. What a pleasant surprise.

Where’s their school, she asks. Soon, we stumble upon it. Look at all the bicycles and yellow vests.

Countless stops so I can get out of the car and take photographs. It’s not long before my shoes are muddy, muddying up the floor and mat cleaned the night before.

Sometimes, I stay in the car, using the window to steady my telephoto camera lens. We fuss a bit as she tries to maneuver the car so I can take a shot. We’ve been fussing for 36 years. It means nothing, our love transcends anything we could say to one another.

Pain meds.

We finally come to a road we’ve traveled before. Soon we come to Paw Paw, Michigan. Let’s stop at the winery, she says, and I say, sure.

So much wine, so little money. I sure could use a drink. We buy four bottles of inexpensive wine. As we checkout, I tell the young woman waiting on us that we were once part of a religion that forbade the drinking of alcohol. She replies, really? Her face tells me she’s never heard of such craziness. I go on to tell her that we were 50 years old before we drank wine for the first time. I chuckle and say, we are living the 60’s and 70’s a little late in life.

She needs to use the bathroom, so does our daughter with Down Syndrome. I’ll tell her I’ll take the wine out to the car,  She says, OK, and hands me the keys.

I open the trunk of the car, put the wine in, and carefully wrap the bottles with a towel.

I slam the trunk of the car and reach into my pocket for the keys so I can unlock the car.

Panic. You didn’t. You fucking idiot. Surely, you didn’t lock the keys in the trunk? You damn idiot, yes you did.

Soon she comes out to the car and I tell her what I’ve done. I thought I had ruined our day. She calmly reaches into her purse and pulls out the second set of keys. Disaster averted.

I am mad at myself, still upset over the keys. 57 years, and I’ve never locked the keys in a car until today. My self-esteem takes another dive.

Back on the road, time to head to South Haven.

The roads continue to pummel me. She notices that I am writhing in the seat and says,I’m sorry. I say, it’s OK. It’s not, but only death will keep me from reaching our destination.

5:00 Pain meds. She notices I have taken the maximum dosage for the day, but she says nothing. She knows I will have to take extra pain meds to get through the day.

It’s 5:30 as we pull into the parking lot near the beach. She and I have been here many times. It’s our favorite place to be. There’s nothing better than watching a Lake Michigan sunset, especially when the one you love are by your side.

The sun is shining, it’s 54 degrees.

The Lake is frozen, the beach is covered with a mishmash of ice, melting snow, and sand.

People are out and about. One young woman is in flip-flops and a white sun dress. Silly humans, we are, worshiping the warmth of our star.

We make our way out to the lighthouse. I walking slowly, prodding the ground with my cane, making sure the slushy snow beneath my feet is firm.

We finally reach the point, the first time we’ve been here when the Lake is frozen.

People come and go as we stand there enjoying the warmth and the view. What a wonderful view…

A talkative woman stands nearby. Her back is to the sun and Lake. She seems only interested in talking to those who are near her. She’s lecturing a young couple about an upcoming sales tax initiative. She’s against it. She turns to me and asks, do you read? Yes. What do you read? Books. Philosophy? Yes. I’m thinking, really, here I am 3 hours from home, away from my blog, and I am getting quizzed about philosophy? The talkative woman asks, Who? I snap back, Kierkegaard. This satisfies her and she turns to the woman in the white sun dress and tells her she’s crazy for being out there in flip-flops and no coat. I thought, I’ll tell you who’s crazy.

We walk back to the car and drive to the bluff overlooking the Lake. I’ve never taken photographs from this spot before.

I set up my tripod and prepare both my cameras to take photographs of the sunset. The show will be short and sweet, I know I must be ready.

She gets out the portable camera I bought her for Christmas. She is quite proud of her work. I hear her camera beep, knowing she is photographing me going about my craft. I used to object, but I know my children and grandchildren will one day appreciate her photographs. I’m reminded of what my friend Tom told me, photographs are about the memory, the moment. That’s what matters.

Soon the show is over and we quickly load everything back into the car. The temperature is quickly dropping. By the time we get home it drops 20 degrees.

As we make our way down from the bluff, I ask her to stop at the beach. Just a few more shots, I say. She’s cold, so she stays in the car as I setup my tripod and take a few photographs of the lighthouse, now lighted by incandescent lights along the walkway.

It’s 8:15 as we walk into Clementines. All the adrenaline has dissipated and my body now screams for attention. I can barely eat. I use the bathroom before we leave, leaning against the stall, a few tears come to my eyes. Why does it have to be this way? Why does one day with my friend and lover cost me so much?

Pain meds.

More pain meds.

I have a counseling appointment scheduled for tomorrow. She knows, and will cancel it in the morning. Bed is what awaits me come tomorrow and several days after that. It’s the price I pay for living, for experiencing the beauty of my wife and a Lake Michigan sunset.

It’s midnight as we pull into the driveway. We’ve been gone 14 hours and driven over 300 miles. Exhausted, she falls asleep in minutes. I take more pain medication and my normal nighttime meds. I’m so exhausted that sleep comes quickly.

12 hours later, I wake up, knowing that I must now pay for yesterday.

Is it worth it?

She’s at work now and she sends me a text. The sun is shining, want to go to on a road trip?

I reply, sure…

Black Squirrel, Up Close and Personal

I have one of my cameras with a 150-500mm lens set on tripod by the living room window so I can take photographs of the birds, cats, squirrels, and other wildlife that inhabit our backyard. Today, a black squirrel hopped on the fence just outside the window. I’ve seen him do this before, but every time I try to take his photograph, he sees me and scampers off. Today, I won the battle. I was able to stand off to the side and actuate the shutter. Not as focused as it would have been if I had been directly behind the camera, but not bad. I shot eight frames in rapid fashion. Here are four of them.

black squirrel

black squirrel 2

black squirrel 3

black squirrel 4

 

Trains, Trees, Houses, and Raccoons

Here are a few of the pictures I’ve shot recently.

abandoned diesel switcher findlay 2015

Abandoned Diesel Switcher, Defiance, Ohio

abandoned diesel engine findlay 2015

Abandoned Diesel Engine, Defiance,Ohio

abandoned windmill findlay ohio 2015

Abandoned Windmill outside of Findlay, Ohio

house 2015

Picture of our home, taken with a 11-16mm wide angle Tokina lens. Weird angle on neighboring houses is on purpose.

pine tree front yard 2015

50′ pine tree in our front yard

furnace vent 2015

Frozen Water on furnace vent

And finally, five pictures of our new “cat”. I shot these at night with a Sigma 150-500mm lens,  ISO 6400 film speed. No flash, on a tripod. They are grainy, but good enough to keep. (we feed the feral cats that frequent our yard, Feeding and Helping a Feral Cat and Winter and the Feral Cat)

raccoon back yard 2015 2

raccoon back yard 2015 1

raccoon back yard 2015 3

raccoon back yard 2015 4

raccoon back yard 2015 5

 

Hairy Woodpecker

There are four types of woodpeckers that frequent our yard: Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, and Red-headed. The first three make an appearance numerous times a day. Red-headed woodpeckers are infrequent visitors and quite hard to photograph. What follows are several photos I took of a Hairy Woodpecker. Or is it it a Downy Woodpecker? The only difference between the two is overall body size and bill size. I am going with Hairy today.

hairy woodpecker

hairy woodpecker 7

hairy woodpecker 2

hairy woodpecker 3

hairy woodpecker 4

hairy woodpecker 5

hairy woodpecker 6

Independence Dam January 31, 2015

After our granddaughter’s basketball game, I asked Polly to take me for a drive. During the winter, I am home bound, rarely leaving the house. If I’m lucky, I get out of the house once a week. So, if I am out, camera in hand, I like to scout out opportunities to take pictures. (even on days when the lighting, contrast sucks)

As we left Defiance, Ohio, our north-easterly drive took us along the Maumee River. We soon came to Independence Dam:

Independence Dam State Park is near the confluence of the Auglaize River and Maumee River. The area has played a key role in the history of northwest Ohio providing a travel route for numerous Indian tribes including the Iroquois, Miami, Lenape, Ottawa, Erie, Wyandot, and Shawnee. Anglo-American explorers were also drawn to the rivers for many of the same reasons as the Native Americans. It provided a reliable source of water as well as an abundance of fish and game.

Two Indian leaders spent part of their lives in the area. Pontiac, an Ottawa leader, is believed to have been born near the confluence of the rivers. He went on to lead what is known as Pontiac’s Rebellion against the trade policies of the British rulers in the years following the French and Indian War. Blue Jacket a Shawnee leader made his home in the area. He was a leader in the Northwest Indian War an effort by a united group of tribes to halt the westward expansion of American settlement…

…The Miami and Erie and Wabash and Erie Canals passed through the area of Independence State Park. The canals connected the Ohio River with Lake Erie. Cities such as Defiance grew along the banks of the canal. They developed into trade and industrial centers. The canal system thrived for about thirty years in the mid-to-late 19th century before they were replaced by the railroads…

…Independence Dam was built in the 19th century to provide water for the canal system. The original wooden dam was replaced in 1924 by the current concrete dam. At this time several civic organizations began a drive to set aside the land between the river and the canal as a state park. The Ohio Department of Public Works purchased the lands and Independence Dam State Park was opened to the public in 1949.

Here’s a few of the photos I took:

independence dam january 31 2015

Independence Dam

independence dam january 31 2015

Independence Dam

independence dam january 31 2015 3

Lots of history along the banks of the Maumee River

independence state park memorial

Independence State Park Memorial

independence dam january 31 2015 4

Seagull

independence dam january 31 2015 5

Seagull

independence dam january 31 2015 6

Seagull guarding its catfish lunch

independence dam january 31 2015 7

Independence Dam

polly gerencser

Polly Gerencser, my favorite photography subject

polly gerencser 2

Polly Gerencser, my favorite photography subject

bud's restaurant

Not Independence Dam related. This is a picture of Bud’s Restaurant, Defiance, Ohio

Defiance vs Bowling Green Basketball Game January 31, 2015

Last Saturday, my oldest son, grandson, and I attended the Defiance High School vs. Bowling Green High School basketball game. The contest was held at Defiance. I expected the game to be blow out, but Bowling Green keep the score close until part way through the third quarter. Defiance finally pulled away, convincingly beating Bowling Green, 65-43, State-ranked Defiance” record  improves to 15-1.

Here are a few of the photos I took:

game official

Game Official

game official 2

Game Official

Scorer's Table

Scorer’s Table

katwan singleton

#22, Katwan Singleton, #4, 5 foot 7 inch Michael Menendez looks on and thinks, I wish I could do that.

defiance bowling green basketball game january 31 2015

#20, Kameron Singleton, #30 Shay Smiddy, #11 Adian Markey, #25, Mitchell Gardner

defiance bowling green basketball game january 31 2015 2

#25, Mitchell Gardner, #30, Shay Smiddy, #3 Jake Meyer

defiance bowling green basketball game january 31 2015 3

#22, Katwan Singleton, #11, Braden Fredrick, #4, Michael Menendez, #41, Ryan Ludwig

defiance bowling green basketball game january 31 2015 4

#51, ???, #22, Katwan Singleton, #23, Noah Strausbaugh

defiance bowling green basketball game january 31 2015 5

#11, Aidan Markey, #41, Ryan Ludwig, #20 Kameron Singleton, #43, Jordan Arrington

salton sea yacht club

If you have ever been to the Salton Sea, you will appreciate the humor of “Salton Sea Yacht Club”

 

Squirrel Appreciation Day

Squirrel Appreciation Day is actually on January 21st. Yes, there really IS a squirrel appreciation day. In honor of the rats with long tails that have so often been the subject of my photography, here’s a few squirrel pictures I thought you might enjoy.

fox squirrel

Fox Squirrel Raiding the Bird Feeder, Ain’t he talented?

fox squirrel 2

Fox Squirrel, Marblehead, Lake Erie

fox squirrel 3

Fox Squirrel, Riverside Park, Findlay, Ohio

fox squirrel 4

Fox Squirrel, Riverside Park, Findlay, Ohio

fox squirrel 5

Fox Squirrel, Riverside Park, Findlay, Ohio

fox squirrel 6

Fox Squirrel, Riverside Park, Findlay, Ohio

fox squirrel 7

Fox Squirrel, White Birch Lake, Farwell, Michigan

fox squirrel 8

Fox Squirrel, Marblehead, Lake Erie

fox squirrel 9

Fox Squirrel, Marblehead, Lake Erie

gray squirrel

Gray Squirrel, a Sidewalk somewhere in Ohio or Michigan

black squirrel

Black Squirrel, Port Huron, Michigan.

Defiance vs Wauseon Basketball Game January 17, 2015

Last Saturday, my oldest son, grandson, and I attended the Defiance High School vs. Wauseon High School basketball game. The contest was held at Defiance. I expected the game to be blow out, and it was. Defiance easily beat Wauseon 60-32, improving their record to 10-1. The previous night, Defiance lost their first game, losing to Celina 48-44.

Here are a few pictures I took during the game.

katwan singleton

#22, Katwan Singleton, defended by #32, Jacob Newlove

noah castle

#22, Noah Castle

carter bzovi

#30, Carter Bzovi

michael menendez

#4, Michael Menendez

katwan singleton 2

#22, Katwan Singleton, #30 Carter Bzovi

noah castle 2

#22, Katwan Singleton, #22, Noah Castle

jacob newlove 2

#32, Jacob Newlove, defended by #22, Katwan Singleton

katwan singleton 3

#22, Katwan Singleton, #22,Noah Castle, #14, Zach Johnson

katwan singleton 4

#22, Katwan Singleton, #14, Zach Johnson

wes detter

#10, Wes Detter

basketball

Cue All by Myself and One is the Loneliest Number

 

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