a trip to atlanta to visit my parents

After over three years of being unable to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic and other personal issues, I finally drove north to see my parents in Atlanta from Orlando.

I drove on a Sunday, a day I picked because it wasn’t a weekday. It took between eight and nine hours to drive the distance between my home in Florida to my parents home in Lilburn, Ga. That’s a distance of at least 450 miles. As usual, Apple maps grossly miscalculated the time on the road to get to my parent’s home, predicting a mere 6 hours 29 minutes to cover the distance. Never mind time lost due to the pee stops. Never mind having to sit in traffic at the innumerable traffic slowdowns due to accidents on I-75, or the really big traffic snarl between Macon and south Atlanta on I-75 that forced me to spend an additional $2.50 on the express lane running parallel to that section of I-75. I followed the express lane up to I-675 and then I-285 to finally reach my parents home. I have no idea why traffic was that bad on that section of I-75 on a Sunday afternoon, but it was horrid.

One of the delays in my travel was trying to find lunch down in Valdosta, Ga, after I crossed the Florida/Georgia border. It was 1pm, so I thought, why not, the lines and waits at any of the fast food places shouldn’t be long. Boy was I wrong. I stopped at four different fast food places only to find the lines snaking out the doors and filled with what I’ll assume were college students and young families. All this on a Sunday afternoon.

I finally ate lunch at a Sonny’s, spending $15 (tax + tip) on a Big Deal. I’ve long been a Sonny’s patron for forty years, when they first opened near Atlanta, but my patronage may come to an end. I remember Big Deals as being a big deal; meat piled high on your bun, with three sides which included fries. Now, the meat (pulled chicken in my case) barely covered the bun, and the french fries are an extra. I got enough to eat, and the food was good, but the days of inexpensive dining that I remember at Sonny’s are long gone.

On the way out of Valdosta I stopped at a Circle K (strange things are afoot at the Circle K https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DsFMJQHbMs ) and tanked up for the second half of my trek northward. The gas prices are all above $4/gallon everywhere, a price this high I haven’t seen since the early 2010s. While standing at the pump waiting for my car to fill, the pump started playing ads complete with crappy audio. I can ignore the visual part, the the audio I can’t, and it’s a truly annoying experience. Except this time, someone had written, in Sharpie, next to one of the buttons, the word “mute.” I immediately pressed that button, and blessed silence ensued. To that unknown person who wrote that, bless you. I finished filling my car in blessed silence.

I made it to my parents’ home, had a bit of supper with everyone, and then crashed out for the night. The trip took more out of me than I expected. I guess that’s to be expected when you’re 68 and haven’t commuted anywhere in over two years due to retirement. I managed to stay fully alert due to the terrors of driving up I-75. There are a lot of crazy folks driving these days. I now spend three days with my parents, and then get to drive back to Orlando, experiencing the joy of driving on the open road in America. Lucky me.

retrospective — trip to boston for siso 2011

I traveled to Boston in February 2011 to attend the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization, or SISO, yearly meeting. I was presenting a paper I’d co-authored with two other engineers on using open-source software for integration and interoperability. That was a Thing back then because DoD contractors loved to write custom and proprietary software that required additional ongoing support for that expensive software. Modeling and simulation was a big area for this, and all of the contractors took full advantage. But it was beginning to dawn on folks that a lot of what the DoD was paying for could be accomplished with commercial and/or open source software. We managed to prove that point, and I was there to deliver a talk about our project that used open source software to accomplish modeling and simulation integration. Of course, it went on the shelf after that and not much came of it until later in the 2010s, at which point I was well removed from that effort. Such is life trying to work for the government as a civilian…

Anyway, while in Boston I spent a bit of time walking around being a tourist with my E-P2 and several lenses; the kit zoom, the m.Zuiko 2.8/17mm pancake, and an OM Zuiko 1.4/50mm using adapters for the E-P2. What follows are a few photos taken with the 50mm.


Homeless + DIsabled. With Neuropathy, in both legs. If every other person could give I could get medicine and food for a while. Thank you. God Bless you.

I liked the color and tonality of these photos, which I attribute to the OM Zuiko lens design. The micro four-thirds sensor essentially converted the 50mm film lens into a 100mm short telephoto. I had learned how to manually focus that lens on the EP-2, which at the time had no focusing aids. You learned how to look for a special scintillation effect when the 50mm was in focus. Because it was a short telephoto, I was able to stand back especially for street photography. Everybody always talks about how you should use the equivalent of 28mm to 35mm in order to be a ‘true’ street photographer, but I prefer to be discrete, standing back and looking at what’s happening around me. Then when I find something interesting I can stay where I’m at and use the equivalent 100mm to make my photograph.

I know there is a lot more to Boston than these four photographs convey, and I’m sure there are a lot who will see these as “so what.” But for every one of the views in these photos, I passed at least ten or more like them while walking back and forth from where the conference was being held on the harbor and the hotel I was staying at. Boston came across as compact and highly dynamic while I was there. I’m quite certain it’s even more so now. I could spend an entire summer (or winter) up in Boston documenting the city the way I’d like to. Especially the people who call Boston home. I live in Orlando, and as pleasant as Orlando might be, it has nothing on Boston. Boston is the giant to Orlando’s pygmyism.

For those of you who are curious how all this is mechanically configured, here’s what the complete kit looks like.

OM 50mm on E-P2