What’s Your Decade?

I started a trip down memory lane based on a comment I read “Nothing good came out of the 80’s”.  I must disagree.  I was not born in, but I came out of the 80’s.  That was the primary decade of my development.  Most of my favorite people came out of the 80’s.  Decided to write it up when I heard a song on the radio “19 Somethin'” by Mark Wills – not a song of the 80’s, but about the time he grew up in.

OK, I will admit that some pretty bad things came out of the 80’s.  Bad fashion for one: neon, parachute pants, mullets, fishnet tops, fingerless gloves, acid wash jeans, rat tails, massive shoulder pads and Members Only jackets.

Several things came out of the 80’s that have since evolved into something different: Walkman’s evolved into mp3 players, the first commercially available mobile phone has since evolved into the commonplace smart phone. Audio CDs started to replace cassettes and vinyl records.  Personal computers became widely available, since overshadowed by the tablet and smartphone.

Memorable movies came out of the 80’s (though not all memorable for good reasons): The Breakfast Club, Aliens, The Right Stuff, Caddyshack, Dirty Dancing, Full Metal Jacket, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Urban Cowboy and of course The Princess Bride.

Of course there are the TV shows: MacGyver, Magnum PI, The Cosby Show, The Wonder Years.

The 80’s embraced an eclectic array of  music: Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Dwight Yoakum, Travis Tritt, Run  DMC, LL Cool J, New Kids on the Block, Salt N Pepa, Metallica, Randy Travis, Bananarama, The GoGo’s, Madonna, Culture Club, Wham, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Violent Femmes,  and Joan Jett.

Then there are just the songs: “Push It”, “When Doves Cry”, “Livin’ On A Prayer”, “Back in Black”, “Always on My Mind”, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, “It’s Like That”, “We Got Our Own Thing” , “Jump”, “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “Billie Jean”.

How much “good” stuff and how much “bad” stuff came out of the 80’s depends on your taste. But I still say that it is far from “nothing”.

Lookin’ back now I can see me
And oh, man did I look cheesy
But I wouldn’t trade those days for nothin’
It was 1980-something
Mark Wills – “19 Somethin'”

Exploring Your Own Backyard

I frequently plan trips to visit beautiful scenic places so I can take pictures.  Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, so many beautiful and interesting places. England, Ireland, Italy, cities with beautiful architecture or landscapes featured in calenders and books and National Geographic Specials.

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to make all of these trips.  Fortunately, I have discovered that I don’t have to go that far to find beautiful scenery.
Only an hour’s drive from my front door are beautiful beaches. An hour in the other direction are spectacular mountains.
I can see wild horses and soaring eagles and still have dinner at home.
I live close to three historic cities with buildings designed by renowned architects.
And I too often take it for granted. I am pretty sure I am not the only one.

I have every intention of visiting many of the places on my list. Face it, no matter how beautiful where you live is, places like the Rockies are worth seeing.

I also have every intention of seeing as much of the beauty as my “backyard” can show me.

It’s not necessary to go far and wide. I mean, you can really find exciting and inspiring things within your hometown. - Daryl Hannah

What Inspires You?

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams

I started this a couple of weeks ago, got busy, and finally made it back.  Funny thing is, I was having a brain flow that turned it into something completely different.  I started musing on what inspires me to take a picture or put a page together. I started thinking about someone who inspired me to make the “Looking at the Sky” page simply by posting a picture on Facebook. And off I went on this tangent. I decided to keep it.

I do not find many people impressive or inspiring.  I have never understood when people say an actor, musician, sports figure is their hero. I may have found an exception.

Like most folks, I participate in social media – Facebook & Twitter.  I check out celebrities, but most are only interesting in sporadic bursts. Are people really that interested in what people have for breakfast?  And being able to carry a tune, play a character or throw a ball does not make someone hero worthy.

I discovered this actor when he had a small part in a movie with Robert DeNiro.  Something about him left an impression. I wanted to know if it was a fluke or actual talent. I have since spent a few years watching him on tv and in movies playing a wide variety of characters. My appreciation of the Actor growing every time.

I started to check out his Facebook and Twitter expecting the usual.  I am not the first and will not be the last to say that I was happy to see a well spoken, intelligent, well informed individual who manages to have strong opinions and be open minded at the same time, encourages intelligent debate, and provokes people into making informed decisions not just blindly agreeing simply because they are mesmerized by the nice view. My appreciation of the Person is growing.

Recently, the East Coast was hit by a major storm – Hurricane Sandy.  New York and New Jersey hit the hardest.  There are celebrities doing benefits and commercials to raise support. I commend these performers for using their talents and popularity to help others. But the person who inspired me artistically to make a page of sky pictures has now both inspired and impressed me as a Human Being.

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” – Ann Landers

Why am I impressed and inspired? With friends, he is one of many who spent their weekend gathering, delivering and distributing much needed basic supplies; trudging through streets running with sewage and debris; grabbing a shovel to dig crap (literally and figuratively) out of people’s homes; bending their backs to carry out ruined furniture and appliances; and fueling that spark of hope that things will get better.

Now that I have rambled on, I will say that I debated not mentioning the actor by name. There are no press releases or photo ops or interviews. Just heart wrenching stories of one man’s experience shared with his fans.  If anyone reads this, I am referring to Anson Mount (AMC’s “Hell on Wheels”; National Geographic’s “Seal Team Six”; “Cook County”)

He is one of the many people who do not sit and think “What is the least I can do?” but instead ask “What is the most I can do?”  Each and everyone of these people is a Hero. As individuals, they will be unrecognized. Most likely forgotten by all but those they helped. I do not think Anson Mount more of a hero than the rest.  Being an actor does not make his actions any greater or lesser than those of anyone else. But maybe, since he is a public figure, he will inspire people, and they will inspire people and so on and so on…

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.” ~  Buddha

Taking a moment to breathe

Recently, I spent several weeks in hectic work mode.  Nothing new, unusual or unexpected about it.  Happens every year at this time.

Suddenly I realized why it always gets so stressful.  I forget to breathe.

To take a quick walk outside during lunch.
To sit and look up at the sky and notice the clouds.
To read a book of absolutely no literary significance but that makes you laugh out loud.
To watch a mindless television show or movie. I personally like cheesy, campy horror flicks that do not scare anyone.

To listen to a guilty pleasure song at high volume and sing along.

Is it really such a bad idea to put down the cell phone, turn off the social media, put away the work and the bills and be frivolous or childish for fifteen minutes?

That still leaves 1,425 minutes to be stressed out and plugged in each day.

But maybe, just maybe, it will take a lot more to get there.

Are you a photographer?

I was out early morning trying to get a nice sunrise over water.

I was not alone.  There were a couple of gentlemen discussing the cameras people carry.  Apparently, there was an abundance of Nikon’s.  Mine included.  A man (who looked like he had been dragged out before the sun and was not quite sure why) asked if having a Nikon made his wife a photographer.  I chuckled. Why? Because of a quote: Buying a Nikon doesn’t make you a photographer.  It makes you a Nikon owner.  ~Author Unknown


I was then asked if I was a photographer.  My reply: No.  I take pictures.

I get up early on a Sunday morning and head out before the sun is up to take a picture.

I look at items and decide to reposition them to take a shot.

I post my pictures on line so anyone who stumbles across them can enjoy.

As I pulled “Baby Cam” (aka Nikon Coolpix) out of my back pocket, one of the gentlemen laughed and said: If you carry a backup camera, you are a photographer.

Am I a photographer?

I guess that depends on who is looking at the picture.

What it is about

I love the medium of photography, for with its unique realism it gives me the power to go beyond conventional ways of seeing and understanding and say, ‘This is real, too.’ – Wynn Bullock

I take pictures.

I do not limit myself to a single subject.

I like to look at the world through a lens.  It is amazing to me how much more you can see through a tiny whole than you can looking at the whole surrounding the same view.  I have found that I don’t necessarily need a camera to see the world through a lens.

“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder” is cliche.  And true. And only the beginning.  No one will argue the beauty of a rose. Many will argue the beauty of a piece of rusty metal.

I guess the real trick is to show something in a way that people have never seen it before.

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask “how,” while others of a more curious nature will ask “why.”
Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information. - Man Ray

If a photograph stirs the emotions in at least one person, that makes it art. This includes the person who clicked the shutter. – Henrik A. Lundh