Taken last fall on the farm. This is a prime example of those photos that we all have. You know, the ones we passed over the first time around. Then we stumble upon them accidentally and decide they might be worthy of the light of day.
I’m really not the best at Photoshop. So, on rainy days like this one, I sometimes pick out a photo that had potential but didn’t quite make the grade. I give them a go in Lightroom first and then port them on to Photoshop for the heavy lifting.
So it was with this photo of Eva. In the before, you can see that there is quite a bit wrong with the photo from exposure to th0se ugly metal chairs. The event is a Civil War ball in a historic building. Why fill it with modern metal chairs?
In the after, I’ve used the clone tool and paint brushes to remove the offending chars and added adjustment layers with masks to make tonal and color corrections.
Now, the rain has passed and it’s time to go out and play…or take a nap. I could go either way.
Have a great Saturday, folks.
Perhaps as a result of my semi-southern upbringing, I enjoy visiting. No special occasion is required. You only need the desire to stop by and spend some time with friends and family. It’s a time to catch up on the week. Talk about the events of the day or share information on common acquaintances.
It’s understood that visiting is not a formal occasion. No one is going to wait on you, though visiting often involves food. To underscore that point, the best kind of visiting takes place in the kitchen.
At the farm, visiting often involves sitting near the wood stove, enjoying its warmth. Debbie and the farmer will be there. So will Sarah, the farm’s official ambassador and mouser.
As the wood pops in the stove’s woodbox, the kettle steams and the conversation ebbs and flows. Laughter punctuates the stories told and comfortable silence gives time for thought and reflection.
Visiting may be an art, but it is not pretentious. It’s democratic. Anyone can participate, even you. Go visit with someone you know and polish up those conversation skills you’ve let become rusty.
Late summer farm lunches make up some of my favorite memories. Baked beans, fresh greens and vegetables, water melon, pork, and sometimes cake, pie or cookies. The farmer and the hands come in from the fields and the barns to wash up. They’re tired and hungry, but intent on getting to the table.
Chairs and benches scrape the floor and bowls are passed clockwise around the table. At first, there isn’t much talking as they begin to shovel in everything they can get their hands on. But, eventually they slow down and begin to talk. Mostly they tell stories that inevitably lead to laughter and then more stories intended to top the last one. I’m sure there is some truth in each story, but I’m never sure how much to believe. That’s ok. I like the laughter and the good hearted ribbing. The tall tales are the means to a light hearted end.
You’d like these people and you’d enjoy being there. You’d be honored to sit with them and eat their food. Not many people receive an invitation.
Just leave me bit of that cobbler. Yeah, the blackberry. Is that cream? I’ll take some of that too. No thank you, I’ll get my own tea from the pitcher. Would you like me to top you off?
His death was not unexpected, but was a shock none-the-less. Partly because my Uncle Eddie spent eighty eight years bending life to his will and there was no reason to expect no less of his treatment of death. Indeed, though terminally ill for the last part of his life, he faced it head on, lasting far longer than anyone thought he could. Classic Eddie, he would only die when he was ready… doctors and hospice professionals be damned. Until then, he would continue to live life on his terms.
What does that even mean? Living life on your own terms could mean any number of things to many people. To Eddie, that often meant being irritating, impatient, and outspoken. He could be a complete jackass.
On the flip side, Eddie could be incredibly generous and thoughtful. He loved art, music, good food, and intelligent conversation. He was fearless and full of adventure. Eddie was driven. He was creative. He was human. He could listen and he could think. He was honest and a straight shooter. He loved his family. He loved his sister dearly and in turn, he loved her family.
For most of my life, he was my crazy uncle, to be tolerated with as much patience as I could muster. My family loved him and there was no doubt that he belonged to us. You see, my family loves characters and Uncle Eddie had character in spades. For many of us, he was the only relative that we really knew. He drove up from Florida to attend every family function and we looked forward to seeing him and learning of his latest adventures and antics.
Eddie could have remained my crazy uncle, but our relationship evolved a few years ago. During a long bout of unemployment, Eddie changed our relationship. I didn’t do it, he did. At a time when I was struggling with the problems of my own life, Eddie used photography, a passion we both shared, to reach out to me. He mentored me. He criticized my work and helped me to become my own photographer. He was generous of his time and of himself. He lent me equipment and we discussed technique and style.
It wasn’t long before we moved beyond photography. We had long conversations about family and politics. We talked about art. I don’t know how many hours we spent in art museums from Ohio to Florida. We grew closer and found that we liked and respected each other in a way we hadn’t before. In the last year, we ended each phone call and each visit with a heartfelt “I love you”. Yeah…I loved that irritating, impatient, crazy, wonderful old man.
Last year, I visited him at his home in Florida and on my last evening with him, he got out the good bottle of rum and made two very strong Cuba Libres. While we drank and the sun set, we swapped stories and told lies for hours. We watched the cars making long trails of light on the street below us and listened to a band playing in a band shell near the beach. I knew that he was dying and I knew to cherish the moment with him. I did then and I do now.
I started by stating the world’s smallest giant had passed. Eddie was a short slim man. It was the man he was and the memories he’s left us that make him a giant. Good bye Eddie. I miss you terribly, but I am comforted in the thought that you are finding new adventures with the giants that have passed before you. You will have them whipped into shape in no time. Try not to drive them crazy. I love you.