Photo 101, Day Eleven: A Pop of Color (Yellow)

Not much time today, so I took a little stroll around the garden looking for pops of yellow against the manic green that’s taken over after the last weeks of rain, nothing but rain.

No adjustments other than cropping.


Photo 101, Extra Credit: Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland (EVERYTHING ON MANUAL)

I took a basic photography class last Thursday from Midwest Photo Exchange here in Columbus. I learned about my ISOs, apertures, and shutter speeds. It was a revelation and relieved me of my reliance on AUTO.

Yesterday, I reconnected with my friend Beth after a thirty year absence. And what better way to reconnect than to stroll around a historic cemetery? I have a thing for cemeteries and have posted about Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn in the past.

I like a nice memento mori.

So, the pics in this gallery are all taken in the “M” mode and manually focused. There are literally a hundred photos that don’t look like anything. I have not altered these in any way, not even cropping.

Photo 101, Day Ten: Mystery & Lighting Effects

Last night I attended my first Pride event in Columbus. Last time I lived in Columbus, I was a frightened high school kid who couldn’t even possibly imagine that someday he would be walking around being gay, gay, gay without threat of being shoved in locker.

I happened to attend the Pride Festival in Goodale Park at Magic Hour. Unfortunately I didn’t have my new Sony A5000 because I thought I’d be going to the bar afterwards. So, all of these pics are taken with my iPhone 6 (a little to a lot of tweaking afterwards on some)…

Photo 101, Day Seven: Big & Point of View


I live in Columbus, Ohio. Other than the campus of OSU, there is nothing “big” in Columbus, Ohio. And I don’t have the necessary zeppelin to capture its size. Everything else is a respectable average. That’s what Columbus, Ohio is most famous for: it’s impressively above-average averageness. We have a nice skyline, but not one that shouts Columbus, Ohio, Manhattan of the Corn! Our highways are big enough to handle the necessary traffic, but this ain’t LA, Atlanta, or Dallas. Our zoo is famous, but the animals are all normally sized for their species.

I lay awake in my bed. Tossing. Turning. Little hamster spinning on its wheel. Big. Big. Big. What’s big around here?

I slept fitfully. I woke up early. Called in the back-up hamster. What’s big?

Then I noticed the water in the glass by my bed. The surface was rippling. The cat looked at me, said “Hell no!” and bolted under the bed. I went to the window.

Dear God, I thought. The prophesy has been fufilled!

Giant two-headed T-Rex spies his (and/or) her nemesis, the massive bellini glass with balls…


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Photo 101, Day Six: Connect & Tags

Roots and Runners: Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars…

I chose today’s subjects because today –June 15, 2015 –marks the first anniversary of a great man’s passing. There have been very few public personalities for whom, upon hearing of their death, I wept. Casey Kasem was one of them. He made me the music fan I am today. He taught me that all music was equal and deserved at least one listen. He taught me not to judge other peoples tastes [Well, not too harshly. But, c’mon gays, you can do a lot better. I know you can.] He taught me that no one doesn’t like having chart trivia spewed at them for no good reason. Each Saturday morning I listen to a re-broadcast of an AT40 from the 80s and one from the 70s on Sundays. I am a complete chart nerd!

I wrote many words about him last year when his crazy wife Jean stole his body.

So I felt the best way to honor the man was to feature things that keep their feet on the ground and some other things that keep reaching for the stars. Yeah, it’s totally contrived and hokey, but it’s my Long Distance Dedication.

Photo 101, Day Five: Solitude & the “Rule of Thirds”

Four views from an area in transition. Columbus, Ohio.

For me solitude on a beach or in a yurt just isn’t an option. The sheer amount of people one has to deal with to get to these places outweighs the benefits. I find solitude wandering around and finding beauty in places no sane individual wanders or finds beauty. But if you’ve looked at the rest of this blog, I’m not exactly sane.

When I got the camera last week, my first outing was to an area along East Fifth Avenue in Columbus between Fourth Street and Cleveland Avenue, near the railroad tracks. The city is in the process of prettifying E. 5th with fancy street lights. Soon warehouses will give way to urban infill housing. Along the tracks, sidewalks and trees are already in.

Walking around these liminal spaces frees my focus to notice the beauty in the geometry and the splashes of color.

Oh yeah, and a bunch of thirds.

Dead end in Grant Park redevelopment area.

Dead end in Grant Park redevelopment area.

A truck alone in front of a bunch of places where you need to be alone.

A truck alone in front of a bunch of places where you need to be alone.


A fork. Alone. When you wander these spaces, sometimes you look down.

Sidewalk and trees awaiting walkers and climbers. Grant Park Redevelopment Area.

Sidewalk and trees awaiting walkers and climbers. Grant Park Redevelopment Area.

Same view, but now in black and white. B/W really piles on the lonliness, right?

Same view, but now in black and white. B/W really piles on the lonliness, right?

Photo 101, Day Four: Bliss & Captions

As to not disturb Murder Cat in her bliss, this was shot with the Sony A5000's long lens at 210mm. Safety first!

As to not disturb Murder Cat in her bliss, this was shot with the Sony A5000’s long lens at 210mm. Safety first!

Bliss is a quiet place in the sun to think your dark, dark thoughts.

We all need a warm, relaxing place with a view. A place where we don’t have to suck in our bellies. A place where we can plot against our enemies, be they othat guy that never texted back or the Republican Party or our impenetrable writers block or, most of all, the horrible chipmunks that taunt us day in and day out.

Kim (aka Murder Cat) is my inspiration. It’s all I can do to keep from plopping down on the rug by the screen door with her. But bliss is best a solitary place.

Photo 101, Day Three: Water & Orientation

Four shots of Adena Brook. Columbus, Ohio

Adena Brook in the Clintonville area of Columbus was named after the Adena Culture which flourished in Ohio between 1000 and 200 BC. If you drive around Columbus and know where to look, you can still see some of their mounds.

Even though Columbus appears relatively flat and boring, parts of it are riven with ravines. Or ravished with rivulets. Below you can see the remains of an old dam that formed a swimming hole from back when Adena Brook and its ravine were a summer getaway. The pool below the old dam is still an important swimming hole for local dogs.

IMG_1929IMG_1930For the above two shots, I think rotating the camera allowed me to foreground the doggie swimming hole nicely.

The next two shots are a few yards upstream. You can still see the sides of the old swimming hole.

IMG_1917 IMG_1916Again, rotating the camera allowed me to foreground the old swimming hole and to allow the viewers eye to follow the creek. I think a vertical camera works quite well for composing shots where you want to guide the eye along a path.

Photo 101, Day Two: Street & Establishing Shots

roadhomelowshotThe Road-Like Path to Home

In the two months since I’ve moved in with my sister, I estimate I’ve lost twenty pounds. I don’t know the exact amount, but saying “I’ve lost twenty pounds” is more satisfying than saying “My fat clothes actually fit.” The main reason for this weight loss is that getting food delivered is not an option. In NYC, I relied on Seamless/GrubHub for the vast majority of my meals.

Now there’s no way anything’s getting delivered. My sister lives on a street that doesn’t exist. There’s a street sign of sorts, but it only lists addresses you cannot find on the actual street in the actual address. Basically, it’s a glorified alley. The city doesn’t even bother paving it properly; every few years a truck throws fresh gravel down.

When the moving truck from Brooklyn finally arrived with all my stuff, I received a frantic call from the driver: “I’m at the spot where the GPS said to go, and all I see is a steep hill. My men can’t do this!” I had to guide him through the five twists and turns it would take to get to the top of the hill and the “front” of the house, which is really the “back.” When the house was built in 1918, it was a summer home, built overlooking a bucolic ravine by a doctor from Bexley who wanted to escape the heat of the city.

Columbus has long since leap-frogged over this little cottage. All the cottages that once faced along the ravine have since turned around to face this little alley, leading to a street where backyards are front yards.

I love this street. It’s a little slice of country smack in the middle of the 15th largest city in the USA. When I have a car service drop me off after a night out, I don’t let them enter the street. Nothing is more magical than strolling down it in the middle of the night with a few drinks in you, smelling the lilacs and listening to rustling in the bushes.

The cat also loves it, even though she will never step foot upon it. When I lived in NYC, the only beasts that tormented my cat were the squirrels. Now she has nemeses not only among the squirrels, but also the chipmunks, the possums, the coyotes, the groundhogs, the foxes, and the deer.

Kim The Cat meets a deer for the first time.

Kim The Cat meets a deer for the first time.

Photo 101, Day One: “Home”

[For WordPress’ ‘Photo 101’ course, I will be posting an assignment a day for the next thirty days. This is the first]

kimottomanKim’s Ottoman

When I first got Kim eight and half years ago, it was to solve a problem. My previous companion, Sam The AIDS Cat, had finally succumbed to his condition. He may have been a very sick cat, but he was a good mouser. You need a good mouser when you live next to a large construction site in Manhattan. Guy would lay out five for me on a good night in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. When he passed, I told myself I would mourn for a couple months. But the mice kept coming.

The last straw was when two scampered up onto the above ottoman AND IGNORED ME. Being ignored by a mouse is a soul-crushing experience. I needed something to wipe those smug arrogant grins off their faces.

The next day I poked my head into the vet’s office that occupied the ground floor of my building, and I saw this beautiful Tortie with the most ethereal green eyes in the adoption cages. I went over and offered two fingers for her to sniff.

Bitch bit me.

“Don’t worry,” said the vet tech. “She’s a sweetheart… just makes a lousy first impression. All Torties have something slightly off about them. Has something to do with that mutation on X-chromosome that gives them their coloring.”

A paw came out from between the bars to swat me. “I don’t know.”

“Please consider her. She doesn’t have many more chances left. She’s been in a cage her whole life.”

The cat looked at me with murder in her eyes. “What’s her name?”


“Well, that’s sucks.” I put my finger back in. She nuzzled for a microsecond then chomped down. But there was a purr in the chomp, not a hiss. “I’ll take her, but I’m not calling her Felicity.”

After filling out the requisite forms, the tech told me I could pick her up in a couple hours. I went back upstairs. I had the satellite radio on, and Dirty Boots by Sonic Youth came on. And who’s cooler than Sonic Youth’s queen bee, Kim Gordon? No one. Felicity would now be Kim.

It was lonely with Kim at first. She hid under my bed for the first several weeks, but at least the mice stayed away because of her scent or maybe her bad attitude. Then one night I was watching a special on Chernobyl twenty years later. Apparently the place is overrun by radioactive feral cats. There was a lot of cat noises coming from the speakers. This piqued Kim’s interest, and she ventured out from the bedroom to see what the fuss was about. Without paying me a lick of attention, she hopped up on the ottoman. After about five minutes of me sitting in absolute silence she turned around and meowed at me.

She has been one with the ottoman ever since. It is her scratching post and her throne. It is were she demands spankings –a friend into the leather lifestyle opined that we had a classic S&M relationship. It is where she relaxes enough to show her belly. It is where she bites the shit out of my arm.

The ottoman is now in the guest bedroom of my sister’s home in Columbus. Things got tough towards the end of my time in NYC, and Kim was what kept me tethered to this earth. Only one piece of furniture was special enough to ride in the car out to Ohio, not in the moving van.

Her home marks my home.