Its been a long time since I’ve posted and even longer since I’ve posted any political commentary…. but today deserves a comment. This special day of remembrance, respect and honor for the men and women who have served our country and paid the ultimate price has been defiled by our current white house occupant. The man who is supposed to be our Commander in Chief issued this message this morning:
“Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!”
Tone deaf does not even begin to describe his tweet. The mind-numbing lack of respect and dignity and the total focus on self congratulation are amazing – even for this man. For someone with his history of evading the service and sacrifice that we honor today – silence and restraint would have been a much better choice.
Sorry I haven’t posted for a while, but its been a busy time. We’re getting ready for a trip to Antarctica and Patagonia so I’ve been preoccupied. That being said, when I saw this week’s challenge, I couldn’t ignore it. We spent some incredible time with some young (3 week old?) lion cubs and their mom back in October and it was sooooo cute and soooo sweet that I never get tired of perusing those photos. Here’s one I thought captured a quiet and curious moment with one of the youngsters as she came toward our vehicle…..
Hope you guys enjoyed this sweet moment – I loved being able to share it…….
I recently wrote to my Senators about my disappointment in their (lack of) strategy during the recent short government shutdown. I thought they blew it for a number of reasons. In any case, I wrote to them (and our House representative) again this morning with the following simple question to use during the immigration negotiations……
I recently wrote you regarding the lack of a coherent Democratic strategy for the shutdown. I just wanted to offer a simple suggestion:
In every interview and every negotiation where “the wall” is put forward, the automatic democratic response should be “we will fund the wall when the president reveals how Mexico will pay for it”. That was the president’s promise to the American people and he should be held accountable for that in any negotiation regarding this subject.
Thank you for your consideration,
Since we are mired in the era of soundbite politics and alternate facts, lets get some details on one of the signature promises of this administration.
This week’s challenge was easy for me. I’ll take you back to Tanzania on one of our last evenings there. As usual, we were still out with the wildlife at Sundown. We had been watching a group of female lions getting ready for their nightly hunt but we had also been watching a group of Elephants a few hundred yards away. I decided to try to get a ground level shot of an elephant with the sun going down over his/her back. While I couldn’t quite get that photo framed due to the brush in front of us, I kept moving to try and catch the beautiful sunset along with these gentle giants. When I look at this capture, it immediately brings back a sense of excitement (in trying to get the shot) but also the quiet calm and beauty of the scene and this magnificent creature standing in front of me….
I’m not sure that this really fits the subject of this week’s challenge but I liked this photo and I could stretch the meaning to fit……
This is a shot that I took during a “sundowner” happy hour overlooking the Serengeti in Tanzania. The sky was incredible but the only prominent point of interest was a single Acacia tree not far away. Those trees are frequent subjects of African sunset photography so it wasn’t very innovative from that aspect. What struck me about the scene was that the tree’s canopy was totally mirrored by the clouds just above – perfect semi-circles. I decided to take a photo where the subject was dead center in the frame – something I rarely do. I set my aperture to try and catch a sun star as the sun emerged below the clouds but above the tree. I had my camera on a pocket tripod so I was lining the shot up as the sun and clouds moved – as luck would have it, at the perfect moment, I could see a perfectly round lens flare forming as the sun reflected off the center of my lens. I snapped the shot at that second to catch this additional highlight to the symmetry of the scene – it is faint but hopefully apparent in the photo – forming a perfect circle around both the tree and the sun. An experiment in composition with a little help from mother nature.
In looking at the news for the last two days, it struck me that the terrible attack in NYC happened in a place that we had visited a few years ago. This is a photo I took on a walk from the World Trade Center back to our hotel. This view looks back toward the Trade Center and you can see the overpass near where the terrorist rampage ended. It is hard to imagine that such a beautiful and peaceful place can be instantly transformed into a place of fear and terror by a single deranged individual. Our hearts go out to the victims of such a mindless crime and to the people of New York who have once again had to endure such cruelty and insanity. May the peace and beauty of this incredible place return quickly.
We have just recently returned from a wonderful safari trip to Tanzania. When I saw the subject of this week’s challenge, I immediately went to this photo. I took this after one our first days in the wild at Tarangire National Park. We were staying at a wilderness camp with just my wife and I, our guide, and 3 beautiful people to take care of our every need in camp. I selected this photo as it captures many glows – the fading sunglow on the horizon, the star glow appearing in the darkening sky, the moon glow almost directly overhead, and the glow from our campfire embers both on the ground and reflected in the massive Baobab Tree above. This is a scene to remember for many years to come.
I think I found an old photo I took that reflects (literally) 3 of the 4 elements. It is a photo taken on the “spit” in Homer, Alaska on a calm morning. The water was dead still, the air beautiful with great clouds, and the mountains in the distance reflecting in the water. It was a wonderful morning in this lovely small harbor.
of complete and utter incompetence in the White House. A man who thinks it totally appropriate to talk about unleashing “fire and fury” in the midst of a crisis with North Korea is dangerously unconnected to reality. Who would have thought that we’d be in the running for the most deranged leader in the world when there are so many other good candidates around. A few days later, he talks about a military option for Venezuela. Unbelieveable!
But even that was only a warm-up act. When presented with a no-brainer opportunity to act “presidential” in response to violence and even an act of terror by white supremicist and neo-Nazi groups, he delivers comments about violence “on many sides”. He also continues his blindness that his words and actions are a contributing factor to that violence – when even the leaders of the hate groups cite his leadership as an inspiration.
I have been embarrassed to be an American many times in his short time in office but this last week is nothing short of a disgrace – and a dangerous one at that.
First, I’d like to apologize for my lack of posts lately – no particular reason other than my utter dismay at our current political state. For my entire life, I have been proud to be a citizen of this country. I truly believed that this was the greatest country on earth – a beacon of freedom and democracy that stood as an example to other countries. That feeling was consistently validated during every one of my foreign travels – people routinely expressed their admiration of our liberty and our institutions as they lamented their own country’s corruption and inability to serve “the people”. In six short months that admiration has turned to scorn and ridicule as we have swiftly lost the credibility that was dearly earned through our (mostly) principled behaviour on the international stage. At the same time, here at home, our white house occupant continues to offer empty promises to his electorate (he never speaks of the majority of the country who didn’t vote for him) without a clue on how to achieve them. Somehow we are supposed to believe that his imagined victories over his enemy of the day and his unending placing of blame (on anyone other than himself) is a good substitute for actually serving the nation. In his own words, it is indeed “sad”. Sorry for the rant but I thought I’d express my dis-satisfaction before turning to more positive thoughts.
One of the most satisfying experiences in my life of late was a 16 day trip down the full length of the Grand Canyon. Believe me, at least some of that satisfaction was due to the lack of communication with the outside world and a respite from the White House’s fright show. But one of the other extreme joys was the opportunity to take morning hikes in the canyon. Often these hikes led us upward to incredible vantage points and vistas where the sheer beauty was overwhelming. Combined with the exertion of climbing and rock hopping up the trails, we were treated to that wonderful feeling of physical well-being at the same time we were experiencing the wonders of mother nature. I chose this particular photo from one of those hikes as a great example of that satisfaction. I actually left our hiking group at this spot just so that I could enjoy the solitude, quiet, and magnificent view here as the sun started to fill the canyon.