Monday, September 16, 2013


This has little to do with Bleecker Mountain Life, but more to do with just plain old life.

I've never really excelled at anything.  Hardly any of us do.  We all pretty much muck along, doing the best we can, and then we die.  Sure, some of us are better than average at some things.  I built probably the best computers that one could buy, but that hardly made ME anything special.  That only meant that I cared about the products I assembled and sold.

I did excel in college for a time.  I was a returning adult, with a family and a mortgage, and so was motivated.  I got 100% on just about every test I took, and usually got any bonus question correct.  The professors who marked on a curve would do so on the second highest grade, discounting mine.  My final GPA was 3.98.  A "B" in tennis messed up a 4.0.

I've always enjoyed the arts.  Music, painting, and so on.  I tried them all and although I enjoyed my attempts at them, I was never very good at any.  The desire was there, but the talent was not.

About a year and a half ago, Pam and I were living on our boat in Savannah.  I was working on our Boston Whaler which lived on the upper deck of Drift Away.  I don't remember now what I was doing to it, but I had my point-and-shoot camera with me to record the proceedings.  At the end of the day, I packed everything up but I had forgotten all about my camera and left it up there.   During the night, we had your typical southern rainstorm of biblical proportions.  My camera was ruined.  I intended to just go out and buy another inexpensive camera, but Pamela wouldn't hear of it.

"Let's go out and buy you a nice camera," she said.

"No, they're too expensive," I replied.  I can be a cheap bastard at times.

"You never spend money on yourself," she said.  "You love photography.  You're always taking pictures, and you're good at it.  Let's go to the mall and look."

Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to look.  So we went to the mall, and a basic DSLR with a couple of lenses would set me back close to a grand.  Nope.  Not spending that kind of money.

"Buy it," said Pamela sternly.

Well, we walked around the mall, and somehow she persuaded me to buy it.  Back at the boat, I put it all together.  It certainly was a nice piece of equipment.  I could even change the lens!  I decided that since I spent such a large amount of money on a toy, I should learn how to use it.  I went online and enrolled in a digital photography school.  I read about photography online.  I bought books.  I tackled photography the same way I did college my second time around.  I took photos.  Lots and lots of photos.  I made mistakes and learned from them.  I worked on my photography and got better.  I submitted photos to stock photography websites and was accepted by one, and they sell my photos and even pay me a paltry sum for the honor.  I put many photos on my Drift Away blog.  Some blog posts were mostly nothing but photos.  People noticed the improvement, including our friend back home, Trish.

Well, not too long ago, Trish asked me if I'd photograph her wedding.  Uh oh.  I told her that I'm not a real photographer.  I'm a hobby photographer.  I'm not really that good and just get lucky once in awhile.  She insisted that I would do fine.  Well, Pam and I owed her a lot.  She's the kind of friend who will do anything for you.   If it wasn't for Trish, we might not even be together.  She helped Pam through some tough times.  I was so grateful, I even asked her to be my best man.  I nervously agreed to do it, advising her that she might want to get a professional.

Then I had the logging accident.  Trish and her bride, Theresa, were concerned that I wouldn't be able to do it.  No way, I told them.  I'll be there.  I owed them.

Yesterday was the big day.  My pain meds make me loopy, so I made sure not to take any.

One thing I learned quickly about photography is that if you want to get some good photos, take lots of them, and I did.  I put my camera on all different settings.  It was an outdoor wedding at the covered bridge park in Edinburgh.  It was in the shade, which was good.  It's tough to get good photos of people in bright sunlight.  But which ISO setting do I use?  Too low and the photos would be dark.  Too high and they'd be grainy.  I took a half dozen photos of each shot using myriad settings.  I took off my 55 mm lens and put on the 300 mm to get some close ups.  At the informal reception afterwards, I maxed out my camera's memory card.  I had taken almost 500 shots.

Back home afterwards, I downloaded the photos to my computer and then immediately backed them up to my external hard drive.  If my laptop crashed, there would be no do overs.  I booted up my photo  processing program and scanned what I did.  Amazingly, there was some good shots.  I got to this one, and I choked up a little.

It's a close-up that I took with my telephoto during the exchange of marriage vows.  Trish has a tear running down her cheek.  It's a powerful image of love.  How can anyone be opposed to gay marriage?  Why do so many states still not allow it?

Looking at this photo... maybe I do almost excel at something.


  1. I find nothing wrong with gay marriage...

  2. Talking about gay marriage-- Check this out...