I survived!

The day started out like any other. Work started at 8:30, did some recaps, made some copies, went to a short meeting and then met at the bus at 10:30 for the Account Management Fun Day at The Diamond!

It’s Richmond, Virginia, in late June. It’s warm. But it’s not just warm; it’s hot, humid and sunny without a cloud in sight! But it’s going to be a good day. Picnic area (mostly) to ourselves. Free hotdogs and hamburgers. Free Beer! Free LARGE beers! And wait, we’re “working” and “on the clock” and they are letting us get away with this? Hell yes!

We even get to rub the belly of the pig!

We go to our seats, practically on the third base line.

Gotta love the sun. We make it about 20 minutes until we need a refill of beers and some shade. We make our way up higher in the stands for some reprieve from the broiling sun. No wind, but at least we won’t get burned. Fifth inning and it’s time for a bathroom break. Socializing and two innings later, it’s time for the raffle prizes. I walk away with nothing, but three, yes THREE of my fellow Financial Managers walk away with a prize. Today is a good day!

The Richmond Squirrels are down, by a lot, so we head back to the stands to cheer on our team! The clouds multiply and darken, but are still a ways off. They get ominous, but still we sit and cheer. If there’s anything certain about Richmond, it’s that when a storm is brewing, 9 times out of 10 it skirts around the invisible dome of weather. Or, if it happens to break through, it lasts 5 minutes. So, we sit.

The wind picks up, but it’s a warm wind. Unless it’s a cold wind, you stay put. Hmm, wait, that gust was a bit nippy. Someone a couple of rows over with their smart phone in hand gets up and says there’s a Tornado warning for our area. Oh Sure.

Seconds later, we see a tiny twister develop in the bull pen. Where’s my camera!?!? Then, the wind REALLY picks up. We get up and scramble for shelter. Nanoseconds later, the rain starts pounding down and the wind picks up even more.

For a while, it’s fun! Where did this come from?!?! Then, hats and sunglasses go flying off of heads and faces. Most get rescued, others do not. Hair gets whipped around; people are protecting their beers, SAVE THE BEERS!

Then, chairs start getting lifted and carried. Some even knock into people’s legs. Hmm, ok, getting a little scary. But there are some mighty men still sitting in the stands. Can’t be that bad.

Then, the ushers start screaming GET INSIDE! Some duck into a janitorial closet, others rush off to the enclosure of the restrooms and some of us duck into a VIP box and watch from the windows as all visibility is reduced to a rainy blur. We grab napkins and blot our drenched faces and soaking hair. We look around in disbelief at the other wet rag dolls. “Is this really a tornado?!?” Yes, yes it is.

We all watch in amazement as debris goes flying by. Flags are whipping. Lights are flickering. Then, as quickly as it started, it lets up. We cautiously make our way back into the picnic area, still drizzling a bit, but better than the cramped, stuffy room.

“Are the buses here, can we go?!?” We make our sopping way down to the buses. Head counts, tales of bravery and pictures are shared all around. We survived Account Management Fun Day 2012!

Can’t say I ever had a feeling of imminent, absolute danger. Can’t say that my life flashed before my eyes. But I can say I will take Mother Nature more seriously the next time someone says there’s a weather warning in our area.

A bit melodramatic? Perhaps. But 100% eye-witness account? You bet.

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Anyone…who plays Peek-a-boo!

Anyone can take a picture and I do mean anyone! You point and click and voila! You have taken a photograph! Your subject matter, framing, focus, light source, color contrast and balance are not important, what is important is that you’ve captured that moment. That moment that is special to you.

I have an affinity for taking shots with what I have dubbed the “peek-a-boo” effect. Your main subject is further in the distance, but to give it some texture and depth, I shoot through something, like trees or shrubbery. It just gives your photograph a bit of substance rather than just a square building against a plain blue sky.

Or add some greenery to that white waterfall against the brown rocks (while beautiful in and of itself, sometimes you need a punch of color).

I try to get a little creative, sometimes a little too creative, and the effect my eye caught either doesn’t translate to the photograph or it just looks silly.

 

Point is, you don’t have blinders on, you don’t just see what is directly in front of you. Walk around, squint, squat and tilt your head and see what else your mind’s eye can capture.

Anyone…with patience…

Anyone can take a picture and I do mean anyone! You point and click and voila! You have taken a photograph! Your subject matter, framing, focus, light source, color contrast and balance are not important, what is important is that you’ve captured that moment. That moment that is special to you.

Anyone can take a picture. But if you’re like me, those moments are even more special when you DO capture something unusual, when it IS in focus, when you DO catch the light, when you CAN create contrasting colors.

I can be a little picky and those that know me know I can be VERY picky about some things. I’m also very impatient. I mean VERY impatient. Picky and impatient are not good bed fellows. But when it comes to photography, I will actually wait patiently to capture that photo of exactly what my mind and eye sees. I wait for the crowds to clear, the cars to pass, for a break in the clouds and for the wind to stop blowing.

I have a boarderline obsessive love (ok, fully obsessive love) with aquariums and sea life. It usually takes great patience to wait for something to swim right into the perfect view…after the umpteenth time.

I’m not sure what this guy was, but he was ugly and his eyes were burning into my soul!

Ok, full disclosure, I have to admit that I did enhance the contrast of the Albino Crocodile in Photoshop (which I do endorse on most occassions), but that’s a whole other topic for a later time ;-) But the whole patience lesson still applies.

But I will linger. I don’t mind waiting for the cheery family with 3 kids to ooh and aah over the exhibit, then get bored and move on. Then oh, here comes another group running over, still I wait my turn. Because I know that if I am patient long enough, that perfect shot will swim into view ;-)

Me and my motivations

I’m finally doing it! I’m finally here! My main motivation for this was trying to develop a way to informally share my hobbies and travels with friends and family without “facebooking” it. Everyone I know doesn’t need to know everything I’m doing every minute of the day…that includes you Mom! ;-)

So, here I am. Who am I? Just someone who wanted a way to share what I see, to share my experiences through my eyes. I’m not always the best storyteller. I ramble, I backtrack, I digress, I talk fast, I leave out important information, or I divulge too much. But I’m a decent writer. And I can take a decent picture.

I came to a realization a couple of weeks ago of why I like taking pictures so much. I like it so much because I’m capturing a moment in time that will never happen again. Sure, I’ve woken up oh, 5 times at the buttcrack of dawn at the beach to watch the sunrise WHILE ON VACATION. So one would think a sunrise is a sun-rise. But no sunrise is ever the same. I usually get the same feeling of “Wow, I’m here, watching the earth wake up, and that’s pretty damn special,” but the landscape before me is ever changing.

I’m also capturing a moment in time that I can always reference and remember. I can “step into the memory” and can literally smell the seaweed, or feel the sand, taste the salt.

Capturing moments for me is important because I have a very vivid imagination. I sometimes wonder “did that really happen, or did I make that up?” Perfect example is Hawaii. I know I went when I was younger. We have some family pictures to prove it. But did I really touch a dolphin? Did I really see a diver come out of the water with an occtopus? Did my Dad REALLY strand us on an island when we went canoeing? Had I been the photography enthusiasts I am now when I was 6 or 7 (see, can’t even remember how old I was when we went!), then I would have those pictures to step into and go “oh ya, I remember that!”

Some might say if you spend your life looking through the lens then you’re missing out on the actual experience. I say Pshaw! I click, and I click, and I click some more to get THE perfect shot (when time permits), but then I put the camera down, breathe and soak it all in, so that I can remember every feeling and emotion from that instant.

I hope you enjoy reading and seeing my experiences as much as I enjoy living them. To get my feet wet, I’ll be posting some oldies – probably a condensed version of Italy, San Diego 2009 (in preparation for San Diego 2012!), and more recent trips like Savannah and Charleston. May even throw in a random waterfall or headstone from Richmond.

For now, hasta manana!