the greenhouse

working area

One of two blooming orchids on the workbench.

Today was another quiet day at my parent’s place. I helped my dad fix one of his sprinkler heads. His sprinkler system has heads that sit just above his rhododendrons. Those rhododendrons are taller than I am, which means this particular sprinkler was that tall. While all the azaleas and rhododendrons are green and growing they’re well past the blooming season. If I want to see them in bloom I need to come back and visit next spring.

I also spent a little time with my dad walking through the greenhouse. It’s good to see it still in operation, but it’s nothing like the “glory days” of ten, and even five, years ago. There was a very bad freeze one winter and the thermostat in the greenhouse failed to activate the heater in time. When my dad woke up early the next morning, a lot of the orchids had already been frozen out. All that invaluable time invested in those orchids was wiped out. Since he’d was already retired he couldn’t afford to just buy and replace.

recycled bird frightener

An old MSN CDROM is being used to scare away birds that might come in the greenhouse. Old CDROMs are hung all over. That’s my dad cleaning out a bird’s nest in the background from the greenhouse heater.

in the greenhouse

Even though he still has far more orchids than I have (and will ever have), at the height of his orchid collection both walls would be covered with sitting and hanging orchids, many in bloom. They’d cover both walls as well as hanging down the center. By comparision I have six, down from a dozen I had five years ago. One of them is an orchid he gave me that I haven’t managed to kill yet.

idle pots
orchid in the greenhouseThe best I can say is I have the memories of those times, and he has a lot of Kodachrome slides of his orchids. There is a record, living and fixed.

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in the garden

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Who needs fireworks when nature is so much more beautiful?

While everyone went down to Centennial Olympic Park or Lenox Square to watch fireworks, I spent a quiet evening with my parents. My dad has spent the last 35 years turning the property around the house into a huge forested garden, covered with azaleas and a long orchid greenhouse back behind the house.

The whole property is on a fairly steep slope from the top of a hill down to a private lake. Even when the sun is up, the house and property are in deep shade due primarily to all the native pines and oaks. It’s perfect for growing azaleas and zenning out.

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coming home to atlanta, in which I get way too close to a lot of people mid-town

quiet contemplation

Resting in quiet contemplation after the big race.

It’s been 30 years this year since I moved away from Atlanta to Orlando. It’s been two years since I went back to visit my parents. My parents are now in their early 80s and two years is a bit too long between visits. So I decided to address the deficit a bit; I flew back to Atlanta early this morning.

I got up around oh-dark-thirty (4:30am to be precise) so I could fix a bit of breakfast, shower, dress, and head for OIA to catch my Southwest flight 424 to Atlanta. The flight was 20 minutes late leaving OIA due to an engine alarm in the 737′s cockpit. We taxied back to the gate, maintenance quickly board, solved the issue, and got us back on our way. Total time about 20 minutes.

When we landed I left and boarded Marta, headed for Doraville to be picked up by my younger brother. When I got on at Hartsfield I thought it was going to be a quiet ride, and it was, until we hit mid-town Atlanta. That’s when we were overwhelmed with a lot of sweaty, smelly Atlanta residents who’d just finished the 2014 Peachtree Road Race.

One minute, it was just me in a partially empty car, the next it was everybody trying to crowd in so they could get home. And I mean they were packed in. The aroma of so many in so little a space needing a shower was a reminder of why I’d left the Big City of Atlanta in 1984. I thought it was bad back then; it’s grown worse, well beyond my dark and tainted memories.

coming on board after the race

Streaming down to board.

crowed feet

Trying not to get stepped on.

bearded redneck

The bearded redneck runner…

Of course, what would a Marta ride be without rubbing elbows with the local hoi polloi? In this particular instance the Bearded Redneck Runner (above) decided he didn’t like me photographing his wife’s midriff (see below). I wanted a simple photo of the sign, a form of establishing content for this story. I guess that was too provocative of me; he got all Manly on me, telling me I might not like what he would do to “that camera” if I didn’t stop it. Of course, this was all after I’d taken the Dreaded Photograph.

Being in a car full of tightly packed sweaty unwashed, I had a brief Walter Mitty moment, a mashup of the movie “World War Z” combined with “The Walking Dead”, where I imagined some sort of redneck contagion spreading amongst the tightly packed, so I decided that rather than become contaminated by actually having to touch the idiot (as in punch out the redneck’s lights), it would be better if I just sat there and until he and his Chosen Mate left the car, which they did right after his bellicose statements. After all, the world doesn’t need yet another mindless, rude, cheap-beer-swilling belligerent Southern white male; there are way too many as it is. I’d left Atlanta 30 years ago to avoid that fate.

While the good news was that the Bearded Redneck and Wife left the car, the bad news was the majority of the other riders stuck it out with me until we all got to Doraville.

she who must not be photographed

… and she whose midriff must not be photographed.

exiting in doraville

Everybody out! Please!

I never felt more relief getting off a Marta train than when I finally got off at Doraville. I hung back until most of the crowd cleared out, taking my time getting out of the station and into Doraville proper.

“That Camera”

Everything taken with the world’s most intimidating camera, the Panasonic GX1, with the world’s most intimidating lens, the Panasonic 20mm pancake. And because I’m on travel, all the photos are SOOC, except for resizing with Shotwell on Ubuntu 14.04.

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father’s day 2014

raphael

Father’s Day. When the kids were still kids, it meant a lot. It was cards and special gifts (not ties, but t-shirts with slogans and crazy characters printed on the front) and trips out for dinner to celebrate Day. I still get calls and cards and little crazy gifts, but it’s not quite the same. Except for tonight.

We ate at a local UNO’s in International Drive tonight because we’d gotten a coupon for a free meal for dad. So we went over, and I had a roasted vegetable penne pasta meal. It was pretty good. I’ve been moving away from animal protean, especially meat, as I’ve come to discover how it’s produced. That knowledge has pretty much killed my appetite for animal flesh. But that’s a story for another entry. While we were waiting for our meals to arrive, a young lady, about the same age as my girls, came by and offered to create a balloon character for us. While she was there I asked if I could photography her while she worked on it, and she said yes. The character she created was Raphael from Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtles, a cartoon show my girls watched when they were still kids.

working

nearly finished

final touches

finished

It was fun to watch her work. She did a great job. And to complete the circle, I’ve sent both my girls a photo of Raphael to remind them of a bit of their past. In all, it was the perfect father’s day gift.

Camera

Panasonic GX1 and 2.5/14mm pancake lens. A very discrete, non-intimidating camera. Post processed with Analog Efex Pro 2 and Silver Efex Pro 2. The black-and-white looked a lot like Tri-X.

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living outside (stream of consciousness photography)

the field (deep green)

old new red truck

genie and the lamp

As Iraq tears itself apart overseas and our disfunctional House tries to destroy itself even further, all it seems I have are my cameras and my pitiful attempts to express myself with them. I don’t write of world events because I’m insensitive, it’s because they are so brutally overwhelming. And so I run and hide in my photography. What could I add to the discussion that hasn’t already been said by so many others?

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