Category: My Musings

Depressing Times

200708-153850-JEH20The times are looking pretty dark.  Coronavirus is still spreading wildly across our nation under the lack of leadership and no unified plan of action.  The U.S.’s response to the pandemic makes us no better than a third world country when compared with what other countries have accomplished.  Even in Pennsylvania where the Governor has done a creditable job in managing the situation he has had to fight ignorant Republicans to keep them from throwing out the plan.  I wonder if they have looked at what that has accomplished in other states?

Even if we get the local situation under control and work to keep it that way, it is still going to be painful for us as long as parts of the country are wildly out of control since people travel.  It also is going to keep the pressure on our economy and prevent us from getting production, etc. back on track.  We are fighting a global war and it won’t be won under the lack of leadership from stupid “carrot-top.”

The debts built up under the current administration have now doomed us for all time, at least during my lifetime as well as my grandchildren’s lifetimes.  Most taxes will need to go up and most of the money will go to paying interest, replenishing stockpiles, etc.  That means less funds available for maintaining the infrastructure.  Forget about funds for building new capabilities.  Any other schemes for handling the debt will most likely destroy the value of the dollar and increase the cost of everything.  There is no free lunch.

And while we are at it, don’t forget about the looming costs associated with adapting to the effects of climate changes.  The future costs are staggering.  And don’t forget the likely costs of wildfires and potential hurricane damages this year.

Personally, I find all of this to be quite depressing and I have lost interest in photography, especially with nothing of interest or new to be photographed.  For these reasons, I sold off cameras and lenses, etc., recovered what I could from them financially, and went into a lower phase of retirement as I hunker down with a lot less photography.

Looking Forward

200608-071720-JEH20

Many of us, myself included, are looking forward to changes as the state & county governments as well as Homewood approaches opening up.

Me, I’m going to enjoy my new haircut, done by yours truly.  I’m also thinking about not going back to the old ways.

For those who haven’t listened to David duChemin, they should.  Take a listen to his latest podcast about gargoyles.  I’m thinking that there are a lot of changes that need to be made to our politics, to our way of life,  to my photography, and to my blog.

Gloomy Morning

It is a gloomy morning as I write this.  I had planned to take the week off from posting anything or making any pictures as I thought about some major changes with my photography.  My thinking hasn’t been going well since my changes are dependent upon going off campus and finding other things to photograph.

With the very slow, extremely cautiously slow release of the constraints on my coming and goings, I can’t make any changes until it is all over and I go out and try some different things.  Unfortunately, the economic and social aftermath of the pandemic in conjunction with the demonstrations and the woeful response of the government to all of the above, I am so depressed that my photography might dry up to nothing.  To counter these feelings I decided that I had to get a camera out and make something … anything to counter my depressing thoughts.

With that in mind, I decided to do some more experimenting with a style of B&W that I had been considering for the possible printing of a small book or magazine.  That is what I did with these pictures that I made while looking out the window.

PS, WordPress is changing the editor and I need to learn how to utilize it properly; i.e. to make things look like my previous posts. I don’t like it so far.

We are Responsible

200526-060314-JEH20The image is no accident.  It was deliberate as I try to figure out where my photography is going.  It is all a blur these days and I am responsible for its future.

Life is no accident.  Nature is evolving continuously; but isn’t it true that all now is the result of man.  Man has been changing nature day by day, altering what happens at each step now.  Everything is changed by everything else.  All things, all actions, are connected and man has disrupted the natural ecosystems.   

Covid-19 as we know it and its impacts are an example. The output of its actions are all strongly influenced by man, whether we wear our masks and physically distance ourselves, etc. 

Man now affects everything that happens.  Man, and what was done, or not done, is now responsible for our future.  Collectively, and individually, we are all responsible.  We control everything, to varying degrees, through our words, our votes, and actions, or lack of actions.

Grasping

200523-081434-JEH20I’m grasping for reasons to photograph.

I’m grasping for what to photograph.

I’m grasping for styles to use.

I’m grasping for what cameras to own and use.

I’m grasping for why and how I should continue with photography.

Just a Blur

200516-060942-JEH20

 Life is just a blur, passing by.  Many are wishing for a return to the way it was.  It never will be the same.  The fear of the virus surging again and another lockdown will be hanging over their thoughts day and night.

And for those who no longer fear the current virus, there is still the economic aftermath to deal with, and if not that, there will be the political situation and the decaying of democracy and the increasing impacts from climate changes.

Reality

No matter what others think and say, I see reality.  I captured these views this morning when others saw a nice sunny day unfolding.  Me thinks too many don’t listen and look closely at what is going on around us since they hope that if they pay no attention, it won’t happen on their watch.  It is either that, or they believe in fairy tales and liars.

Pandemic Impact on Educational Systems

200502-075701-JEH20As with all of our systems, Covid-19 will have a major impact on our educational systems.  Everything from preschool through our graduate schools are going to undergo changes.

At first people just think about how they are going to maintain physical distancing and change everything from transportation to classrooms.  But, that is only the tip of the iceberg.  The big impact is going to be on funding.  Many things will cost more but at the same time our local and state governments will have less revenue to pay for the new costs.  Revenue from income and property taxes will all be reduced due to the impacts of the pandemic.

Considering that most school systems were already underfunded and undergoing revenue stress it is really going to be a lot worse now.  How will the schools respond?  Will they increase online teaching?  That will work in some cases and the current efforts at doing that will help clarify what works or doesn’t work.  Will online teaching enable them to consider laying off teachers, reducing their fleets of buses, closing dorms and dining rooms and housing to cut costs?  It could, but what about all of those people who would lose their jobs and their incomes?  What about sports?  Will children now grow up without learning how to work as teams and relying on others?  What are the costs associated with that?

Dealing with all of these questions will not be simple.  For example, what if a local school system or university decides to expand online teaching and then reduces the number of required teachers, bus drivers, infrastructure, etc.?  That translates into more people without incomes and less taxes for the school system due to increased unemployment.  It becomes a spiraling down of the whole economic system and will require other savings that will also have additional deteriorating impacts on the economy.  Taking it to the extreme, if you go down that rabbit hole you end up with a smaller population all living in self subsistence mode on farms with at-home teaching, or not.

What is the answer or solution?  I don’t know, but I do know that dealing with the problems will require a very careful weighing of all of the potential unintended longer consequences.  We all need to think our way through our recovery and consider solutions at large or we could end up making it worse.  Recovery will not be simple or quick.  It is going to take many years in dealing with interlocking systems of systems and the best talent we have to manage it.

Daylight Savings Time

Today is when we have shifted to daylight savings time (DST), at least in most of the United States.  What a misnomer.  It seems crazy to name it that when there are no savings at all.  The sun and earth keep doing the same in their movements around with the only change being in the amount of daylight versus darkness on a daily basis.

It even seems more ludicrous in doing it now since we still are having overnight frost.  I made these pictures this morning.  The only reasons for switching time these years is due to the lack of action on the part of the Administration and the Senate to face reality and do some work.  Scientific studies have shown that shifting time back and forth does more harm than good.  I have to bite my tongue as I remember that they don’t know what scientific, fact based studies of anything really are, and they couldn’t read and understand them if they had them. 

Life Flow, and Cameras

191121-082035-19JEHI, and many others, have been living on this long problematic journey through the so-called golden years which are part of the irreversible flow of life from birth to death, but as we approach the end, we are still left with the residue of the unresolved.

In my case, one of those many, so far, unresolved issues is how to minimize my photography gear so that I can still do photography.  I guess I should be thankful that this issue is the one most pressing on my mind.

This issue has been complicated by lack of ideas for what to photograph, bigger changes in my physical abilities to handle the cameras and get around, and some changes in the technologies incorporated in the cameras.

Thanks to technology I am now trying to do more of my photography with smaller gear like the small Canon G5X Mark II.  Those who haven’t followed the evolution of the Canon cameras should take note, and notice that the “Mark II” designation is quite important for this camera since the Mark II version is a lot different from the original camera.  As a minimum, I will carry the G5X II as a backup to one of the Fujifilm cameras and whatever lenses I’m using to photograph Homewood events.  That saves me from needing to carry a larger heavier Fujifilm backup camera in a larger bag.

As another step towards living life with more minimal gear, at least when it comes to my photography, I still would like to minimize my gear further; but, doing that too quickly might be labeled heresy and a little premature or early in my journey. 

As an interim step I’m going to try a micro 4/3 system again and try the Olympus E-M5 III since it is WR and more rugged and is a little larger in size, controls, grip, etc. than the G5X II; i.e., between the G5X II and the Fuji cameras I have.  Another reason for going down that path again is the excellent Olympus image stabilization (IS).  I have found real value in having the IS with the G5X II, at least for non moving subjects.  If I can make the micro 4/3 system work well enough for my indoor Homewood photography, I will then start selling off the Fuji gear, probably starting with the heaviest and largest camera and lenses.