On Today’s Walk: Artsy Fartsy Edition

I finally decided to try to learn what I’m doing when I’m taking photos. By great fortune, two of my co-workers decided to teach a class on smartphone photography. I didn’t even know I could have gridlines on screen while taking the picture until they pointed out the setting. I thought that was only when editing!

It was a basic, two-session class. Information in a classroom last week and a photo walk this week. When I came home, I deleted approximately 60 pictures, and kept a small handful.

Here are my four favorites:

I don’t know what kind of berries these are. But I like the color.

Unidentified berries

 

Catalpa leaves and seed pods, with tunnel in the background:

Catalpa and tunnel

 

I liked the shadow here:

Plant and shadow

 

Playing with editing. Feeling all noir:

Leaves and seed clusters

 

Thanks for humoring me.

On Today’s Walk: Corn Maze Edition

The 25th wedding anniversary is silver. The 50th is gold. The 33rd is corn maze. Or at least that’s how the spouse and I celebrated, along with our younger son.

Shryocks Farm has a different design each year. This time around it’s the United States. We found all eight checkpoints, persisting through a couple of periods of light rain. I might have slowed our progress a little by stopping to take pictures along the way.

Since each checkpoint had a trivia question related to a well-known U.S. landmark or geographical feature, I wanted to scout by random factoids as they popped into my mind. Plymouth Rock! That’s famous! The Liberty Bell! How far are we from Philadelphia? My two guys mostly ignored me and compared maps, searching in a grid pattern. I won’t give spoilers by saying whose method was more successful or whether any of the sites I mentioned were memorialized on corn maze checkpoints.

 

Fun was had by all. Even the toad, I’m pretty sure.

On Today’s Walk: Dropped Veg Edition

Spotted while walking home on my dinner break, late afternoon — a whole trail of dropped veggies. Most items had already been snacked on by urban wildlife.

I feel sorry for someone. That’s a lot of mighty fine produce to lose. I’m puzzled how they didn’t realize and pick it up. Good luck for the squirrels, though.

 

 

On Today’s Walk: Sidewalk’s End Edition

Shel Silverstein warned me this would happen:

sidewalk ends

 

I’m spending a few days with my firstborn while he recovers from surgery. (He’s fine, thanks.) His apartment is located within a mile of just about anything you could want. There are several restaurants nearby, a grocery store four blocks away, two bookstores within a half mile, at least two department stores you can walk to in fifteen minutes, a skating rink! A large and amazing consignment store sits two blocks down the street. All of that just a quick walk from his home.

The rub is that nothing is engineered for pedestrians or bicycles. It’s all designed to encourage driving. I was walking to the convenience store up the street to get us coffee and the sidewalk simply stopped, requiring me to soldier on through a grassy field the rest of the way to the parking lot.

My son told me he walks to the grocery store sometimes, but getting across the major street where it’s located is tricky. “My strategy is sprint and pray,” he says.

For the planet to survive, we need to move away from car culture, but we can’t get individuals to do so on a large scale if we design everything to discourage walking and biking. I’m now even more grateful to live in a city that has invested in trails and seriously promotes active transportation.

On Today’s Walk: Surprise Lilies Edition

It’s that time of year. Surprise lilies have sprung from the ground all over the neighborhood. I’m half convinced they’re conjured by magic, two-foot tall stems with blooming flowers appearing one day where there was nothing yesterday. Some people call them naked ladies because the stems are bare of leaves when they bloom.

Surprise lilies

Surprise lilies

I found some that had a modesty cover. But I could see their heads peeking out over the top.

Surprise lilies peeking out.

Peek-a-boo!

 

Bonus for today’s post. Here’s a poem I wrote several years ago.

Naked Ladies (aka Surprise Lilies)

Tall, slender, topped in pink,
through the fence, naked ladies peek,
from my back yard corner.
My daughter delights in their color
and in their name,
points out more of them about the neighborhood.
She is six.
Her friends are sent
into spasms of giggles
when they are given
naked ladies to hold
on the walk home.
When I was six, I remember
my street was repaved.
I spent the summer asking
my brother, Did you burn your feet on the ass…phalt?

 

 

On Yesterday’s Bike Ride: Sights and Sounds

What you see depends on where you look. Frieda and I repeatedly ride to the same few places, for the most part. But I manage to see new things each time. Yesterday, we went to a city park where I’ve taken several photos in the past. But none look exactly like the ones I got yesterday. All of the photos below were shot from the same spot, but looking in different directions.

For one, I turned away from the creek and the natural landscape, pointing my camera toward the city instead. A little shot of Americana.

IMG_4700

 

Facing the other way, you might not know there was an urban area so close.

IMG_4701

 

I rode in the evening and stayed until I looked up and saw the lamp signaling me it was time to get home while I could still see and be seen.

IMG_4702

 

The cicadas sang me a goodbye song.