For five nights in a row I had gone out with the camera hoping to catch some lightning and failed miserably each time.

You’d imagine that with the amount of storms we have have this past week, I would have been able to get something. But between my own inabilities and the fact that when it stormed, it stormed right over me, I failed.

These have been some serious rain-producing storms and getting caught under them each night not only meant a soaking for me and the camera, but it meant that I was also unable to keep water off the actual lens, so any attempt to shoot something was wildly blurry.

Some of the failure was so contrived that I genuinely felt that the gods had found out about my atheistic stance and timed each flash to be where I wasn’t, or pointed the rain clouds at exactly where I was standing.

I think it was Thurday evening when I was alone in a completely dark, rain-soaked ball field having missed again anything on offer. I turned face to the clouds and shouted “fuck you all, you miserable shower of bastards.” But the gods were no longer listening, they had gone back to their eternal party and the one dissident old-irish voice from the darkness meant nothing to them.

So, I did what every good photographer should do when faced with deliberate deity-level meddling, I decided to shoot something else last night,

I reached out to a beautiful young woman and asked her if she wouldn’t mind being the subject of my lens for an hour down at the river walk in Tampa. All the wonderful and varying colors of the walk would present some interesting conditions for a test of one of my new zoom lenses and she was happy to help out.

As she, her mom, and I drove down to Tampa (timing the arrival for darkness), the skies over Tampa created the most wonderful tapestry of sunset colors that I have ever seen in my life. The positions of the billowy clouds that ran indiscriminately in all directions created the perfect storm for sunsets and for about fifteen minutes, the skies over Tampa Bay showed us every shade of red, violet and orange that you can imagine in intensities that ranged from pastel to full bodied.

And where was I? In my car on the interstate.

I could almost hear the bearded old bastards giggling in the clouds.

These gods are a tad spiteful in all honesty.

At least they didn’t put on a lightning show I guess. But it is possible they didn’t because their x-ray vision saw that I had brought my lightning lens in the camera bag, just in case. Foiled again!

The River Walk was full of life, and was a true testament to the waning COVID life that we’ve been living this past year and a half (thank you, Joe).

You could almost sense the vacation atmosphere along the boardwalk and people seemed relaxed and happy.

The big negative shock for us, as we made our final approach to the walk was that none of the colors were changing. As far as the eyes could see, blue was the sole color lighting the walk and the nearby bridges.

I stared in disbelief and we realized it’s because the Tampa Bay Lightning is in the Stanley Cup Final, so the city has turned blue.

Emotionally speaking, it is a good decision and I am thrilled for the Lightning and hope they bring the cup home again. But photographically speaking it was awful.

My shoot plans was built around shooting in light of different colors and intensities. Not only that, but the blue lights effectively create the darkest color environment for a camera. It was a real gut punch.

Thankfully not only was my model a beautiful young woman, but she was also a beautiful person and with the help of her mom as a lighting assistant (who thought she was only along as chaperone) we still managed to get some good shots along the way.

Knowing what I do now about the sunset and the blue light set up, would I do it differently, if I had the chance?

No. Not even remotely. We had a great time and in the absence of colors to work with we didn’t just work with what we had but added some colors of our own into the mix.

Hope you like the little selection at the end of the blog.

In fact, it is that last point I just wrote, that gave me my thoughts for the blog … absence of color and how it affects us.

I grew up in an age of black and white TV (yes, I know … I am ancient) so I saw how different life is, when we lose color. Black and White TV was popular in it’s day but its popularity exploded when we got to see life there in living color.

Sports took on new significance when you could make out the colors the teams were wearing. Nature programs all of a sudden became interesting when you could distinguish a well-camouflaged creature from his natural surrounds.

And before that it was movies. They progressed from black and white to color and the scope of what they could portray grew exponentially.

And before that it was radio, where people’s voices or music could travel the airwaves and be listened to in the comforts of our own armchairs. In this case, the color is the sounds being captured, so don’t think too literally when I use the word “color”.

Because even when we got color tv, it didn’t end there. The american Standard was NTSC, which we in Europe used to laugh at as “Never The Same Color” because the clarity and bleed was awful. Try watching a recorded show from the sixties or seventies and everything other than the nostalgia will make you cringe at what we watched.

So we extended the color to include high definition video and morphed that into internet surfing and video calling over our cell phones.

In each case, the color I am referring to is more than just the Red Green Blue combination on a screen that delivers a pattern. It is that aspect that has widened our experience of life in so many ways that even our grandparents couldn’t have imagined.

Think about that. Just two generations ago, our families would have had to sit around a dinner table eating a home-cooked meal together and then listen to grand-pops tell us about the old days when he was a boy and how he had to walk ten miles to school … uphill, both ways!

Technology aside, it is important to experience life in as much color as can possibly get. Sometimes life becomes very monochromatic (big word, I know) and our situations seem very limited by the options available.

We get straight-jacketed into failure by following a path that we have followed before and we find it difficult to even think about an alternative route.

But just because something is being done the way we have always been doing it, and no one has handed us a new play book that tells us an alternative, that doesn’t mean an alternative doesn’t exist.

By exploring other options, we sometimes find a new path and it helps us grow in life and enriches our wealth of experience.

Yes, sometimes we fail or the path leads nowhere. But that’s OK too.

It would have been easy to be pigeon-holed into simply taking blue shots last night in the dark. That is exactly the situation that life had thrust on us. But we found some colors in a box and some lights to shine through them.

Being adaptable and experimental is a key part of navigating through life.

Let the gods play their silly games in the clouds and always carry a box of colors somewhere on you.

Then when life seems to have a death grip on you and has committed you to failure, just stop and think outside the box. Find a color that alters the path you are on and with a little luck it may prove a winner.

When done put it in your box with all your other colors and call upon it again sometime in the future when life seems to have you boxed in.

… just a thought.

Clouds’ illusions

Two mornings. Different locations. Both under cloud.

Yesterday’s morning drive was to Lake Parker on the back of the weather app saying it was clear. Does someone actually get paid for making those statements? Or does it all just come down to a coin toss?

Needless to say, the morning was smothered in cloud.

The first three shots at the bottom of the blog are from there and won’t win me any prizes.

So this morning, when the app said mostly clear, I knew I was on my own. It is anybody’s guess what that means, these days.

In truth, I kind of guessed there would be some of the outer bands from Claudette playing out over the greater Tampa Bay area this early morning.

So, I figured I would head down to Ballast Point on the bay itself, because unlike yesterday’s smothering clouds, maybe today’s outer bands might be a little thinner and faster moving.

I’m no meteorologist but I lucked out because this morning’s clouds down there were definitely less dense and gave rise to some wonderful early morning colors as the lights from the city caught them.

They may have end up completely smothering the sunrise, but I didn’t care. I had gotten what I came for and as I was pulling out of the parking lot just at sunrise, I could see the disappointment on the faces of some of the late arrivals who thought they might catch a good one today.

If I was a good human being, I might have felt sad for them. Maybe. But I smirked.

The fact that the waters were so tranquil also helped pull together some beautiful shots without having to slow down the shutter speed and that really helped capture more of the red tones in the images that you see.

I hope you enjoy.

Anyway, as I drove home I was humming Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” and I thought of her statement “so many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way” and I smirked (again).

Because they hadn’t gotten in my way this morning. They may have stifled me yesterday but I figured out how to use them today and that is really what got my mind turning on this whole blog thought.

Clouds appear in all our lives. I’m not talking about the physical ones that might even dump rain on us.

I am talking about intangible things that cloud our mind, obstruct our plans, and stop us from seeing the future path ahead of us.

I’ve come through several of those moments and it is important to keep in mind that clouds will eventually blow away. As obstacles, they aren’t real.

A single gust of good endeavor can blow them away.

You can sit engulfed in your indecision if you wish or you can find a vehicle on which to cut through the clouds and take yourself to clearer skies.

Not all obstacles are clouds. I am not for a moment saying that. Many of the things that obstruct us and make it difficult for us to move on are real issues that must be tackled and given real attention to.

But issues that aren’t real, issues that are only illusions, are only clouds.

We sometimes create these issues ourselves, allowing fear or stress to make it look like we can’t get something done. “I’m not able to do this” we cry out in anguish and look for a way to retreat.

Maybe it is something new we have to learn, maybe it is a distasteful discussion that we have to have, maybe it is an innate phobia that we have to overcome. Whatever they are and whatever the source, we need to sort out obstacles that appear before us into two groups.

The ones that are real and the ones that are clouds.

The real ones may be things that we can overcome, alone or with help. And maybe we can’t.

The clouds have to be seen through. No one can help you blow a cloud away. You have to walk through it on your own and be confident that you will come out the other side. Because you will.

Unless you stay in the one spot, frozen. In which case you are hoping that the cloud will blow over and in time it very well might. But that is not a real answer.

Because as much as they are illusions clouds will reoccur and if you don’t develop a practice for getting through them, then the next outer bands will stop you dead in your tracks.

For example, self-doubt is a cloud that engulfs many of us from time to time. We are unsure of our skills, our abilities, our intent, even. Others around us can reassure us until the cows come home that they see greatness in us and that we should not worry. But until we see it ourselves, it can hobble us and make it impossible to move forward.

Self doubt can descend on us for many reasons. Perhaps a past where someone told us we were no good. Or maybe something we failed at. But the thing about the past is that it has no real saying on our future. It doesn’t really disable our ability to move, it only reminds us of a time when we didn’t get to where we needed or wanted.

Our future is very much down to what we make it to be. Not what our past shaped our previous story to be.

We have to find ways past our phobias, beyond our fears, overcome our personal challenges, and have that uncomfortable conversation. This is how we move forward in life. These ways may not be enough to get beyond real obstacles, but they form the basis of personal growth and make us better positioned to handle the real obstacles that come our way.

So we can take a cloud, any cloud, and find a way to help us improve ourselves. Help us to evolve beyond the limitations that it seemed to imply was on us.

Once we have pushed through a cloud’s illusion, we can can never be disabled by that same illusion. We know it isn’t real.

I am able to learn. I am no longer afraid of that. And I have a voice … hear me speak.

… just a thought.


When you allow yourself to be fully immersed in the natural world, you find yourself becoming just another creature on a trail. There is no longer a you and a them. There is just us.

You can free yourself of the shackles of humanity and just be at one with your surroundings.

That you got there by car or have a house waiting for you to sleep in afterwards, is irrelevant. Most of the creatures you encounter on the trail are somewhat in search of food, or are resting, or are looking for somewhere safe to spend their next evening.

And so they wander, swim, or fly with purpose. But with a camera in hand, so do I. While my end goals may differ from those around me, I am very much a hunter.

I steal softly though the grasses or trees, quietly and slowly, determined not to disturb my prey with any sudden movements.

My breathing is controlled, my footsteps soft, my eyes in a scanning mode.

It is a wonderful feeling of “one” with nature.

It is … until some fucking moron in a high speed boat screams into view scattering all around him, as they fearfully run for their lives.

Talk about a peace-shattering moment!

Such blatant disregard for the natural environment as they noisily rip the calm surface of the water apart all in the name of what? Recreation, fun? More likely impressing the ladies with the size of his incredible hull. Although the pretty young thing he had as his hood ornament, seemed more interested in the gold she could find up her nose than whatever this guy had to offer.

Do I sound a tad miffed?

Well I am and most definitely was.

I can’t understand why these types of killing machines are allowed in a lake that plays home to some of the most wonderful creatures Florida has to offer.

A killing machine? (I hear you say).

Well, strange you should ask that, because yes. These speed boats tear through the water without even the slightest notion of what is swimming right under the surface. They are blind to any fish, alligators, snakes, or cormorants in their path. It is the equivalent of driving with an eye mask on through a pedestrian zone.

And in case you think I am exaggerating … traveling at 30 mph is moving at 44 feet per second. Which means that from the moment a fish (or whatever) feels the front of the 22 ft boat cutting through the water above them, they have 1/2 of a second to get out of the way of an engine that will almost always mean certain death to them.

If you don’t think this is a regular happening, take a look at the manatees in the Florida waters. An alarmingly high percentage of them are so badly mutilated by propellers. The scarring is outrageous and those are the one that have survived!

No one is measuring the fatalities. For a simple reason … they are not human.

And this is the simple issue that is driving my blog today.

We are very quick to make laws. Things we can and can’t do. These laws are generally a result of protecting humans from humans with almost no laws that protect animals from humans. Yes, there are the obvious ones like animal cruelty but even those laws are minimal and something has to be really severe before any human is held accountable.

And without saying, none of these laws apply to our food chain, so the companies and people that engage in the edible-murdering process, go almost unchecked in that regards.

But I digress. I don’t want to make this about how awful we are to every animal on the planet. Food chain activism is for someone else and another day.

What I do want to make this about is when we attack or uncaringly injure and kill animals in their own natural environment, then we should be held accountable.

Preserves are supposed to protect the creatures therein. Outboard motors run at almost 1,000 revs per minute. Food processors operate at not even twice that (1,700 typically).

So, when these morons drive their Cuisinart up and down the waters on a preserve, how are there no laws to protect anyone in their path?

Now, I know full well that I don’t have an ice-cube’s chance in hell of getting any legislation to protect wild creatures. They don’t have a vote and they can’t voice their hurt. And what am I saying, we can’t even get gun control legislation to stop the loonies from mowing down our kids with their assault rifles.

So, yeah, forget even thinking about asking for some kind of protective legislation.

Plus we’d have the N.O.A. (the National Outboard Association) screaming about how the liberals are trying to take our engines from us. “they can pry this tiller from my cold dead hands” I can hear Charlton Heston now …

(BTW I had to look it up … a tiller is the piece of the outboard motor that you hold onto in order to steer the boat.)

So, anyway, with legal solutions being little more than a fairy tale ending, the real appeal is to our moral compass.

It is morally wrong to hurt any creature (even republicans) for our own entertainment or fun. I don’t care how filthy, smelly, blood-thirsty, or a nuisance they are, all creatures (you thought I was going to say “republicans” again, didn’t you?) have a right to life.

No creature deserves to be held in such disregard that we plow through their world without even a thought as to their safety.

You give me a half-second to get out of the way of an oncoming propeller and I probably don’t even get the time to accept jesus as my lord and savior, before I am removed from this existence.

I probably just about have time to scream out his name before the blades hit, but then there is this huge legal battle to be fought in the courts outside the gates of heaven, as to whether I was actually about to renounce satan or was just caught in mid-expletive.

St. Peter hates those situations. “Another hung jury, send the fucker to limbo”. He only gets to use bad language outside the gates, BTW. There is this automatic “beep” that drowns him out every time he says anything inside.

Anyway, my point is actually quite simple: Please, if you have to equip your boat with an outboard engine in order to get into her bikini, please slow it down just a little. Give the wild-life in front of you a fighting chance to escape your path.

And for gawd sake, stay away from Preserves. We really don’t want nose-pickers putting us off an otherwise good shoot experience.

… just a thought.

That time of year

It was four in the morning (yesterday morning) and unlike almost everyone else I knew, I was standing in the dark and rain, down at the ball-fields just off Walker Road.

I had been awake since two and after the kitties all got an early breakfast and I had exhausted all the news and email catching up, I grabbed my camera and hopped in the car for a short two minute drive.

I know it sounds really crazy to be up and moving at that time of day and while in part I agree, I also believe that if you can’t get back to sleep then the better alternative is to get up and do something useful.

Early morning thunder had been rolling through the clouds above while I fed the nine cats and the four baby possums (that moved in underneath the house). So when all the hungry little munchkins had been fed, I stood there for a moment on the driveway and stared up at the clouds.

The soft rain was almost warm but had enough of a chill to refresh this tired face. The cobwebs of sleeplessness washed from my eyes and so my thoughts moved to whether any of this would be worth photographing.

It had been quite a while since lightning storms became a subject of photographs for me, so I felt some degree of excitement and gathered the A77 , which really hadn’t seen the light of day since I moved onto the A7 full frame camera.

I waved goodbye to the cats and left the office door open wide enough that they could come and go while I was gone. Not the most security -conscious decision, I know, but my babies need to not be locked out in the thunder, lightning, and rain.

So, that is how I now found myself taking a light soaking and setting up my camera in the wet and thunderous early morning. I should have driven further and perhaps a better view was from the lake side. But the reality was that I didn’t know how long the light show would last and besides which it mainly played out between the clouds themselves rather than the showman-like spikes that we all like to see in a wild lightning storm.

This weather was more loud rumbling and incessant flashing that turned the dark skies momentarily bright. To my hungry soul it was like manna from heaven and I loved every rumble, every flash.

The photos weren’t mind-blowing or anything. It wasn’t that kind of storm. But they are here at the end of this blog if you would like to check them out.

I struggled with some of the camera controls, trying to remember the differences between the A77 and the A7 and some of my settings were wrong. I also struggled with remembering the optimum settings for shooting lightning in darkness.

If I had planned this instead of just making a last minute decision, I would have been by the lake and the camera and I would have performed better. It was obvious that we were a little too rusty perhaps.

But, as I said, more spectacular storms will no doubt abound later in the season and I hope to perform better in those. For now, here is the first one of this new season. I hope you enjoy.

The short drive home left little time to reflect on the experience and I went straight into the office to begin copying over the images from the camera. I surprised an adult possum who looked at me from the cats litter tray as if to say “do you mind? How about a little privacy, please.”

I left him a dish of food and then left him alone for about fifteen minutes and I headed upstairs to give him his space.

He was long gone when I came back down and I made a coffee and sat at my desk in the quiet and darkness. Such moments are very reflective. I don’t want to turn on the light with the door open as every bug in the neighborhood would think I was throwing an early morning party.

While I was sitting there sipping the black stuff, I was lost in thought on how this is yet another season. Each season is both different and the same. They are different from the season just gone and the same as they were a year ago.

It seems crazy to me how quickly time moves between seasons and how the years just seem to accelerate as we grow older.

I know it is merely an illusion. Time moves at the one pace. It is our perception of time that changes.

My theory on this is simple:

When we are younger, we are continually going through new experiences and creating new memories, so the time appears to hold more and therefore seems longer.

As we get older, we are often repeating experiences already gained and so we look back on time and it contains less memories and therefore seems to have passed faster.

We have clocks, timers, watches … instruments that measure time for us. But nothing marks the passage of time better than seasons. Each time a season repeats, a whole year has passed. And it can bring a sharp realization of how many seasons we’ve experiences.

While none of us know how many seasons we have left in our lives, we absolutely do know that it is a diminishing number.

But the moment we begin to think of seasons as merely a marker or consider them only as a number, then we have missed their point.

Seasons are a wonderful illustration of the full life cycle. There are few better opportunities in front of us to witness the planet go through birth, youth, adulthood, death, and yes .. rebirth.

You may have a favorite season but the truth is they are all a marvel in their own right and should be breathed in for what they bring with their winds of change.

I love the fresh newness that Spring ushers in, the warm smiles that Summer creates, the golden tones of Autumn relaxation, and the quiet reflection of Winter demise.

Each season plays its part and life plays out in harmony with each. Nature cycles in and out with each season. Life is born, it lives, it dies.

You can choose to fear transition from one to another, if you wish. But it happens just the same. We can’t stop a leaf turning from green to gold and brown and falling, just as we couldn’t stop a seed from growing into a bud or flower earlier in the year.

So when we look at our lives and realize how much they too are aligned with the seasons, we can fear transition all we want, but the changes are still going to happen. From the “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid” to the desperate search for Ponce De Leon’s Fountain of Youth … it all matters nothing.

Being preoccupied with life changes to where we have cosmetic surgery, hair implants, tummy tucks and boob jobs … it all screams a fear of growing old. But growing old will happen to us all. If we’re lucky.

I don’t want to look like Jackie Stallone when I die. I see no shame in growing old. Yes, the aches and pains can make for miserable days but then youth had some miserable days too.

Our experience in life shouldn’t be defined by which season we are in. Each one should be embraced and appreciated for what the winds bring with them.

I admit that I hang around with friends much my junior and seek fresh experiences that keep filling my memory banks along the way. But frankly, there is nothing in the winter rule book that says you have to just run out the clock sitting in an armchair in front of TV.

… just a thought!


Saturday evening, I found myself lured down to Picnic Island to watch the sun go down in the company of a young lady.

We got there about an hour and a half before sunset and the main purpose was just a visit, rather than a shoot. But Neville being Neville, well, I had my camera hanging over my shoulder,” just in case”.

I only had my general purpose lens on the camera, so I obviously wasn’t expecting anything worth shooting. If it had been a real plan, I would have brought either the ultra-wide or one of the zooms.

So, truthfully my mood was more involved in just enjoying the evening.

The sun was still relatively high as we started out and we walked the length of the beach, lost in idle chatter. Occasionally I noticed something worth shooting, so I (rudely) interrupted the conversations and did whatever was necessary to get the “right” shot.

I have attached a broad selection of the final shots to the end of the blog and I hope you find something there worth checking out.

It was only during the final sequence of shots that my mind really wandered onto the whole notion about how everything had changed from when we first arrived there. The blue skies moved to yellow and gold and accompanied by a wonderful mixture of clouds near the horizon, morphed into shades of orange and red, punctuated with clouds of mauve and violets.

The wonderful breeze coming in from the bay stayed constant throughout, but it heralded in change in the water as it became less tranquil and the waves more pronounced.

The mood of my companion and I also changed. What started as friendly became confrontational and argumentative and ultimately broke down as she stormed off in heavy disagreement.

So, as I drove home my thoughts were largely about the change in the evening (and companions), and how life is also primarily a medium of change.

Life takes us through many physical changes, emotional changes, outlook changes, belief changes, and finally hope changes.

We are never the same person as we were a year ago. Life has changed around us and life has changed us.

We may anchor ourselves into something solid and constant such as a long term career or a relationship or marriage even. But even within those seemingly steady situations, we and our situations change.

Some people dread change and for them life is very much a challenge. No matter how they seek a constant or uneventful life, things happen that upsets their plans.

The better choice is to embrace change. Accept that it is going to happen and roll with it.

Fifteen years ago I helped start a company that looked solid and secure and seemed like it would outlive me and perhaps even exist in some form “Forever”.

But the reality is there is no forever. And today I had the unenviable task of giving two weeks notice to everyone that we have to shut down.

Some changes like this one can bring a sense of failure and COVID’s effect on the industry we are in gives me an immediate alternative to my failure, should I look for one.

And while there is a real sense of sadness and defeat in such a change, there is also a realization that since no journey runs forever, we hit these forks in the road where a change of direction might bring us to an even better destination.

I mean, how many times have you been the reluctant “victim” of a change to circumstance only to find out later, how much better off you are because of the change.

Such is life. When it presents us with these forks in the road, it places no guarantee whichever direction you head. You don’t know if it will be better or worse, but chances are it won’t be the same.

The only part of our destination that is guaranteed is death. Living comes with none, so to expect a “forever” in anything is quite naive.

But in reality, who wants “forever” in anything? Anything we do “forever” will become boring and stagnant, I don’t care how much you love it.

You love chocolate? Try eating it morning, noon, and night for a week, even, and you will grasp the understanding of what the forever notion does to anything.

No. Change is what drives our lives forward and gives us a set of experiences along the way. They won’t all be good but their differences and the experience we gain from them will embroider the tapestry of our lives with the most amazing shades of gold, orange, reds, mauve, and violets.

They will create the work of art that eventually hangs on the wall in our hall of memories. And who wants a painting that is simply blue?

… just a thought!


Surprisingly, yesterday morning shoot didn’t involve a sunrise. I wanted to take the new lens on its first real maiden voyage and so I earmarked a slightly later than normal start down by Lake Hancock.

There is a trail at Circle B that runs a distance by the edge of that lake and though I knew already that sections of the trails are closed because of alligator mating season, I hoped I could at least get as far as the little pier that extends out into the lake.

Unsurprisingly, you could hear the gator-growls as you walked down the trail and I was happy to be right as they had closed off the trail immediately after the pier.

While I understand their desire to keep the pier open (it gives a true vantage point on the lake), their logic is a tad flawed, thinking that alligators would respect the sign and closed gate that was erected on the trail just a yard beyond the pier.

Firstly, I am not sure that alligators can read and secondly, if there was ever a good place to hunt humans, it would be the pier. There is only one point to get on and off and a fifteen foot alligator coming at you from that point only leaves you the option of jumping into the water to escape (which is crawling with alligators, btw).

But, I was very glad for the pier to be open because I knew the sun would be low and I needed a vantage point that used the sun behind me while I photographed whoever might be resting on the tree-line.

Not only would it give me brighter subjects (shooting the other way would silhouette them) but it also allowed me to significantly increase the shutter speed, if there was any action happening worth capturing.

I set up the tripod and fixated on a single Osprey who was about 200 to 250 feet away in a tree. I seemed to be able to get a decent focus with the new lens and hoped that instead of just sitting there, he might eventually take off so that I could capture a moment where he might spread his wings for me.

It was probably only ten minutes but it felt like forever and I stood there ready to pounce and losing patience by the second. I would never make a real nature photographer. Those guys spend days or even weeks waiting for that one shot.

When I reached the end of my patience, I noticed a lovely white egret walking along the water’s edge and so I rotated the camera and pointed at him to take a few shots.

That is the exact same moment the Osprey decided to take off. Victor Meldrew’s famous line “I don’t believe it!” played loudly inside my head. Except I added a few expletives that only the darkness of my soul heard.

I just stood there, camera pointed at nothing and watched him fly away. Apparently even the gnats were laughing at me for my lack of patience.

Before I could take out my whip and begin the self-flagellation that I so richly deserved, destiny turned on a dime. He hooked a large catfish from the deep blue waters and began to return from whence he had left.

I couldn’t believe my luck and quickly pointed the lens back just in time to pick him up on his landing approach. I got so many great shots that the folks at National Geographic must be weeping in their igloos, jealousy eating away at their insides.

The new lens had won the day. It performed admirably and in that one shoot was worth every penny that brought it into my possession.

There were several other creatures that I shot yesterday while there, but I only have added the pics of the Osprey to this blog. You’ll find them at the end and I hope you enjoy! I certainly did.

As I drove home my mind was replaying the experience over and over as if I had just snorted a few grams of the white stuff. I was like a child who had just gotten everything he hoped for under the Christmas tree. And I couldn’t wait to open them all on the PC at home and see if they really came out that clearly in large format. That is the one downfall of digital cameras … the viewfinder is so tiny that you may think you have everything in focus, only to find out when you blow the picture up to full size on a computer screen and see that you were ever so slightly off.

But as I thought about the whole experience it dawned on me how many of life’s experiences are opportunity based and can turn on a dime if you aren’t read to seize it.

Opportunity generally doesn’t hang around very long for most of us and our timing can be critical in even witnessing it. For example, if I had immediately walked away from the pier when the Osprey left, I wouldn’t even have know that an opportunity to catch a moment was about to exist.

So, being in the right place at the right time is a major part of experiencing magic or rewarding moments in our lives.

In the majority of cases, it is pure luck. Sometimes luck is with us and sometimes it works against us. Some people are inherently lucky and others inherently unlucky. I am one of the latter group, unfortunately.

I do have many wins (don’t get me wrong) but I typically have to work very hard for them. Things rarely just happen that are good to me. But that’s OK.

Irish people are historically among the most unluckiest on the planet.

It is where the phrase “luck of the Irish” actually comes from. It was a derogatory statement that was derived from mining disaster stories of the 1800’s when the full sentence was “Any luck is better than the luck of the Irish”.

You didn’t know that, did you?

Interestingly enough, when American commercialism found a way to make money from being Irish, they used Shamrocks and Shillelaghs and four leaf clover and created this happy view of the lucky Irish.

Meanwhile Ireland went through famine that reduced the population from 8 million to 4 million, endured invasion and oppression from the English, lost generations to sustained emigration, and endured a violent civil war that pitched brother against brother. Not to mention that it lost a quarter of its country to an annexation from England.

But that’s OK. As long as no one runs away with me lucky charms, things will be fine. There is actually an old saying from within Ireland that simply states “Sure, if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all!”

Anyway, I digressed quite a bot there…. sorry.

The first point I was trying to make about opportunity was that you have to be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right moment in time. (Why couldn’t you have just left it at that, Neville?)

The second thing about opportunity is that you have to be ready and able when the opportunity strikes.

Unlike the luck element, this is the one piece that we can (generally) control.

Successful people in life are generally not just people who were in the right place at the right time, but they had the skills, the attention, or the devotion to seize that opportunity and make it work for them.

We can never position ourselves to be able to take care of every opportunity that comes our way. Some are simply out of our reach.

“Prima Ballerina just broke her ankle … quick we need someone to take her place. This is your moment, Neville!” Well, not quite because I couldn’t dance to save my life and besides, I left my tutu at home.

But opportunities that we should be able to grab onto form the basis of some of life’s biggest regrets. When we had the chance to be someone or do something and for whatever reason we found ourselves wanting or unready … those are the ones we carry to our grave.

I look back on my life and see a few that I have missed and they hurt. But for every one of those, I suspect there might be hundreds that I wasn’t even aware of. If you buy into the multiple parallel universe theory, then for every missed opportunity, there is a version of us that took the opportunity and they are living a different life than we do.

Wouldn’t it be nice though to feel that of all these lives in these universes, that you were actually following the best path? Well, that doesn’t mean you would have had to have taken all the opportunities that crossed your path, just the best ones.

Be alert, focused, and ready … the rest of this lies in the lap of the gods.

… just a thought!

Size Envy

My new lens arrived the night before last and I think I had it out of the box and attached to my camera within 5 minutes.

It was one of the most eagerly awaited acquisitions of mine (probably only rivaling the arrival of the A7 itself) in the last ten years.

That I was able to walk outside and start taking some pics with it was a tribute to some of the online research I had done, more than any real expertise I might have.

There is a plethora of youtube videos on the subject of this particular lens and also on the camera itself. So, I was well armed with (someone else’s) knowledge.

The lens itself was seriously expensive (in my world, anyway) and the main goal in buying it is to step up my wildlife shooting abilities and thereby get me back out on the trails a little more. I believe my Mam and Dad would have approved that I used some of my inheritance for this purpose; they were very much my inspiration for nature photography in the first place.

It’s a 600 mm lens and is a rather heavy beast. It weighs just under five pounds, which compared to the weight of the camera (1.5 lbs) is quite an anchor.

So immediately, it all means two process changes to my nature work. Firstly, I will need to abandon the notion of going on a trail with this as one of multiple lenses. Changing the lens in situ, with its weight and size, is far too cumbersome for a feeble old Irish guy like me. And secondly, it means I will always need to have it on a tripod. Not because of the weight, but because even the slightest of shakes when shooting with such a zoom will blur even the fastest of shots.

I took it into the yard yesterday and to another spot close by and took three different sets of shots. Just to put it through its paces and to see what else I needed to consider.

I shot a little lizard under a fallen tree from a distance of about 50 feet, a couple of fast moving Carolina Wrens who came to eat the raccoon’s food from a distance of about 100 feet, and a wading Great Blue Heron from a distance of about 200 feet.

I have attached some of the shots at the end of this blog, so I hope you enjoy.

It was the little wrens that posed the greatest challenge because with all the cats around, their visit to each bowl lasted a short few seconds and they just wouldn’t stand still for me. It was shooting them that I realized I needed to shoot with a remote rather than actually pushing the button on the camera. No matter how careful I was, the hand action caused blur.

The lizard was the easiest model to work with. He just stood there blending in with the log but holding perfectly still for me. The Great Blue? Well, he moved but ever so slowly.

Later in the day when I sent a selfie of me with the lens, my sister jokingly replied that her hubby (also a photo-geek like me) had size envy when he saw it.

And it immediately reminded me of one of the comments I had read on the youtube video when I was trying to decide which lens to get. Some moron commented “get the bigger one. It’ll impress the ladies.”

Of all the reasons to choose a lens, that one has to be the very last.

But it did bring my mind onto something that I experienced a few years back when I bought my first large zoom lens for my older camera.

I recalled being on the trail with it and experiencing several comments about how much of a pro I must be. Or an expert. And two different people asked me what I would recommend to them for their next camera or lens choice. I had been on that trail millions of times with my ordinary sized lenses and never got approached by anyone with a question.

So, while it wasn’t “impressing the ladies” it was impressing someone!

Funny thing is, that lens was useless and though it cost $700, it never gave me one good picture and has sat in my closet upstairs gathering dust for over a year. Might be even two.

My best lens for that camera is literally the smallest I have and produces the very sharpest of pics that I have taken.

So apparently size doesn’t matter, gentlemen. It’s how you use it.

Anyway the whole thing got me thinking about how easily we get impressed by certain people or situations and how we assign them so much more credibility than they are actually worth.

I recall an old Eastern European saying that someone once told me: “the expert is always the man from another village” and I find that to be so true. It’s the same reason why most artists’ work only become recognized after they are dead.

Why do we do that? Why do we give such street creds to those who have done nothing to earn it, while demeaning our own talent or the talents of those nearby? It is ridiculous.

We give such unearned elevation to people for the weirdest of reasons.

We can blind ourselves to their stupidity based on a person’s wealth, status, or education … all because something about this combination has impressed us. I can think of at least one filthy rich, university graduate, president, who is as thick as two planks. Yet some people willingly let him grab them by the pussy and drool his tic-tac saliva into their mouth. (by the way, those were his words, not mine).

Yet there are those among us who we barely give a second glance to when it comes to recognizing their worth. Teachers, craftsmen, artists … people who bring something definitive to the table and improve our lives with it.

We have such a skewed view on things at the best of time. A teacher can tell us to focus our mind on certain subjects as they can have a real effect on our future lives while a reality TV “star” tells us to shave our head and color our lips purple … and who do we listen to?

We are impressed by the most benign of things. For example, give a TV personality or actor an english accent and we think they must be worth listening to. Change that accent to hispanic and a number of us tune the same information out.

So where does our notion of expertise come from?

Well, bias is obviously a factor, but some of it is impression-based … we develop an unrelated impression of a person and next thing you know we are listening to them or even voting for them. It’s why actors and politicians cross freely into the political world.

“I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV, so buy this blah blah medicine and your life will never be the same.

Somehow we allow people to make the most tenuous of relationships between what they are known for and the expertise they claim.

How ludicrous for example is it that Kaitlyn Jenner, known for her transsexual celebrity status suddenly becomes a viable candidate for California governor. I mean, seriously.

The oil-change tech at Walmart, with his greasy hands, mechanic-like overalls, and the name “Jerry” neatly embroidered above his pocket … does he suddenly become an expert in engine mechanics to where he gets final inspection sign off for the space shuttle?

We are at the hospital and see a clean-cut middle-aged guy with glasses in a white coat. There is a tiny splatter of blood on one of the sleeves and he is carrying a clipboard. So we approach him and ask him about this strange pain in our lower back. Does he think we need surgery? Turns out he is the local butcher who has just delivered a rush order of fresh meat to the cafeteria.

When it comes to expertise, our presumptions should therefore be irrelevant.

But there is another method by which we assign expertise … I call it relative experience. Little Johnny’s grandma thinks he is a wiz on a PC because he showed her how to use email. But is he a wiz?

Unlikely. But to Granny, he knows more than her and therefore he is her expert.

There is another old saying that I picked up somewhere “In the land of one-armed men, the two-armed man is king.”

And therein lies the problem. We each look at the world through our own eyes and anyone who knows something more than us (or even just drops the right buzz-words) is an expert to us.

But the truth is we need to ignore the bias, avoid the presumptions, and dismiss our own lack-of knowledge in really determining whether someone is an expert or not.

John Cleese pointed out in one of his motivational speeches, that stupid people don’t really know they are stupid. Because they would need to have some degree of intelligence in order to see how stupid they are.

So really stupid people just go through life not having an idea of how dismally thick they are and if we see them as rich, celebrity, or wearing a white coat, then we elevate their opinion to where one day we turn on the TV and they are telling us to inject bleach into our bodies as a cure-all.

Or worse still we give them the nuclear launch codes and hope they don’t become too bedazzled by that lovely shiny red button.

… just a thought!

Grey Clouds & Dark Places

It was a cloudy morning. I knew it before I left as the weather app just said “Cloudy” for Lakeland. As I stepped out on the driveway and looked up, the skies confirmed the prognosis.

But my morning kitty-jobs were done, so undeterred I grabbed my coffee, sat in the car and headed off to Lake Parker. I brought the 11 mm lens with me, given that there wasn’t going to be anything visually wonderful to watch, I might as well make it dramatic.

But truth is, dramatic nothing is still nothing. It is one of those wonderful math memories from when I was a child … any number times nothing is still nothing.

Makes me wonderful though about the whole infinity thing, where anything times infinity is still infinity. So what happens if we multiply infinity times nothing? Perhaps the answer is 1. The origin number.

Which, if true then the origin is something that came about in the midst of nothing, when an infinite amount of time had past.

OK, that’s my equivalent to the big bang theory … but let’s get back to my Lake Parker trip.

So, there I was at Lake Parker, staring off into a cloudy nothing in the darkness, slowly sipping my first cup of coffee for the day.

My mood was mellow. Maybe even a bit melancholy, so the scene suited it perfectly.

I had lost my verve and a rich colorful dawn would have felt out of place in my soul.

A solitary heron walked slowly across in front of me. He got so close I could almost have reached out and touched him. But instead, I just spoke softly to him and wished him well on his day ahead.

I’ve included a few shots of the scene at the end of the blog (including my little heron friend). Hope you enjoy.

As I drove home, the darkness of my mood held and I realized that the older I get, the more dark places I seem to find.

Perhaps it is that I am closer to death but in truth it is not that I fear death. It is just that I know more about life. And darkness abounds, everywhere.

Age brings wisdom and with wisdom comes the evaporation of the original fairy tale. This is the fairy tale we give to our children, where each story ends with “and they lived happily ever after”.

When the fairy mist has gone and we can see clearly, we see life unabashed with all its wrinkles. The unfairness. The tragedy. The sadness.

The darkness.

Life happens by chance. We don’t choose to get born and generally we don’t choose when we die. Nor do we choose the circumstance we are born into. Why does one life begin with a baby being born into abject poverty while another baby is born into unspeakable wealth? Why is one baby born to loving parents and the other born into abuse? Why is one baby born into a body that is healthy and lasts a hundred years, while another is born into a body that only lasts days?

Though we don’t like to admit it, life for most of us is generally a bad experience peppered with good moments.

This is why it is important to grab onto and cherish each good moment when it happens. Each is a little treasure that adds value to our life. If all moments were good, what would another good moment mean?

In broad daylight, what value does the light of a single candle have?

Yet in a dark room, a single candle can cast enough light to help us navigate from one side to another.

Regardless of life’s circumstance, as living creatures we are pre-programmed to do everything we can to stay alive. Rich or poor, our final breath is just as important to each and we fight for it with all our might.

No one’s life feels trivial to them just because of the circumstance. The rest of the world might view their lives as trivial but their drive to breathe is just as strong as the “most important” king.

There is a tiny few along the journey who experience what we call despair and it allows them to bow out. They take their own life or they just stop fighting.

To them despair is the final acceptance of darkness. That life is actually not worth living any further.

Most religions revile the notion of despair and in the Catholic Church for example it is the one sin that cannot be forgiven.

Imagine that!

Those were not my words … the one sin that cannot be forgiven.

Even the seven deadly sins can be forgiven (pride, anger, lust, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and envy). All seven can be forgiven and the path to heaven assured with such forgiveness.

But despair and you cannot be even buried on hallow ground. Commit suicide and your soul is fucked for eternity.

Can you imagine how absurd that notion is when held by so many believers and suffered by the few who give up the fight?

Just because someone has fallen into total darkness and realizes there is no way out … we heap loathing and rebuke on their act of despair.

And it isn’t just their final act of choosing to end their life. Because if it was that, then we could have no martyrs and heroes that willingly gave their lives for whatever the cause. Those who climbed out of the trenches and attacked machine gun emplacements to certain death … they would all be vilified as such.

No, it is the state of mental acceptance that we revile so much. That someone could give up hope. How dare they!

So what if they are writhing in a chronic pain of cancer … let them die naturally. So what if their loves have been lost and their life has lost all further meaning… let them live it out until the angels come to take them away.

We have all bought into the age-old concept of “where there is life, there is hope”.

And while that may turn out to be valid for many, it is not always true for everyone.

Darkness exists in all our lives. It can be periodic or it can be sustained. In some cases it can even be perpetual.

Those who have experienced happiness and the light associated with it, are the first to experience the worst aspect of darkness.

As we step out of a bright sunshine into a dark room, there is a moment of blindness as we struggle to see. In most cases, we eventually see something because our eyes respond to the low-light and find enough detail to help us see what we need to.

But what if there is nothing to see? If there is total absence of light?

At what stage do we stop squinting and realize that sometimes there is just nothing to see?

As I said, life is very much by chance and we each take our own journey through it. If your journey is at times wonderful then embrace the wonder and cherish those moments.

If your life is not wonderful and darkness abounds, then that is OK too. Many of us are in that same dark room, regardless of the fact that you can’t see us.

You see, that’s the thing about darkness … it can only blind our ability to see, but it can’t take away our knowledge that we are not alone.

… just a thought

Idiot Farm

It feels like I hadn’t been to Lettuce Lake in a quite a while so when I had a middle-of-the-day opening, I decided that would be my destination.

The last time I had been there, they were in deep COVID crisis mode and the boardwalk which runs along the shoreline was a one-way mandate. I wondered if it would still be so.

Not because I had a problem with the extra walking involved, but because there is a lengthy stub of the boardwalk at one end that they are unable to have one way traffic on. So, they had it closed off.

It happens to be my favorite section of the boardwalk because it is the section that has afforded me my only sightings of owls there, and deer, not to mention the snakes and turtles that seem to prefer that section of the park.

So, yes. I was disappointed to see when I got there that the same system was in place. I disagree with them keeping it closed off at this stage of the pandemic, but I accept their right to do so.

I just wish I had known in advance, because I wouldn’t have gone, in truth.

There are three entrances to the boardwalk at Lettuce Lake and for years I have entered at the mid-point, walked all the way to the north end (the stub) and then looped back to the south end, before looping back once again to where I entered at the mid-point.

But now, because of the one-way system, I entered at the north end and got off at the south end and then walked back along the road edge to my car. The walk back to the car is tedious and you see nothing, but hey, it is what it is.

Anyway I was only 10% into the initial stage when I encountered the first people coming the wrong way. A couple my age, who should really know better. I frowned as they passed me by.

But I should have saved my frowns, because I started counting around ten and ended up counting 37 people coming the wrong way along the boardwalk. 37!!

I mean, seriously. Someone must have left the gates open at the idiot farm because they were all out. Young families mostly. Some carrying young kids on their shoulders or holding their hands.

The one way signs were everywhere. Felt like every fifty feet there was one, but that didn’t deter the idiots. Their loud mask-less faces ensuring no silence was going to be afforded to any of the law-abiders.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind breaking silly laws when I am in a public setting. Speed limits. Trespassing. That kind of shit. My actions there aren’t hurting any of those that abide by these laws.

But when throngs of maskless morons crowd the walkway and breathe their idiot-fumes in your face when they push by you … well, to me that is unacceptable.

And what were they teaching their children, when they pass by all these one-way signs in the wrong direction? I know I am using the word “teaching” in a very liberal fashion here because I doubt that the idiot-gene allows much learnin’ beyond the basic three “R”s (readin’, rightin’, rithmatic). I guess all they need to understand in life is to tick the box that says (R) on the ballot paper. Another “R” … go figure!

Anyway, suffice to say I did not have a good time and got back to the car as quickly as my old legs would carry me.

I have added a few images that I managed to take along the way, including one that I altered at the very end. I noticed a very suspicious looking burrow in the ground to my left and imagined something was in there looking back at me. That one.

So, I drove home. Fuming most of the way.

At the best of times, I don’t understand people. But I will never understand those who willfully choose to be stupid.

And I began to think about the whole evolution story and I developed my own current-view theory on it.

Evolution is very much derived from a need to survive. Those that need to lose their tail and walk on land, or grow feathers and take to the air, do so. Over millions of years, survival of the fittest drives a chain of changes within all types of creatures (almost) that allows them to survive or even excel in different environments.

But evolution is more than just physical changes. It is also a mental development. To us humans this development has been largely witnessed in a short time frame. Speech and communication drove a lot of it and so a few thousand years bears witness to how we have evolved in this manner. But there is also a significant amount of change driven by information (availability of) and we can see by the writings and theories of a short few-hundred years ago, that today’s human has been able to handle information much moreso than past generations.

Technology in particular has helped us evolve into creatures that can process information in demanding and novel manners. Information that can’t be taught to us by out-of-touch parental figures.

Look at the current generation of smart kids and the skillsets that they have when it comes to mobile devices for example. They don’t just learn, but they intuitively work their way through processes that leave us old-folks in their wake. “How did you know how to do that?”, I have often find myself asking my kids.

Now, there is nothing new in my theory so far, but here is where I diverge from others perhaps:

You see, while there is an elite learning group that is absorbing all this technology and thinking, they tend not to have large families.

No, the large families tend to come from those who have not evolved to this next level of learning. Idiot parents tend to have lots of kids. You see procreating doesn’t need any level of intelligence and so procreating without thought is bread and butter to these folk.

People who are intelligent enough to plan futures tend to limit their offspring in lines with their future plans. But idiots don’t have plans.

As the idiot what he would like to be in five years and you are likely to hear “rich” and if you follow up with a how type question you will likely see their version of a plan is to win the lottery.

Idiot evolution has taken in important developments over the centuries like tying a shoelace, opening cans, and using simple hand tools like a shovel.

But each of these developments have been directly linked to their survival.

The shoelace so they don’t trip as they walk (although velcro shoes have relaxed this development a bit), opening cans allows them to have dinner and drink their beer afterwards, and hand-tool use gives them their avenue for gainful employment.

And as I said, survival has been the main instigator of evolution for millions of years. For examples, Alligators and Sharks are perfect examples of great survivalists who had no need to evolve and so they didn’t. Fossils of both from pre-historic times show essentially the same creature, while mankind lost his tail, came down from the trees, and found a way to increase his numbers beyond all expected levels.

If dinosaurs hadn’t become extinct, we would likely still be in trees and our numbers would be significantly smaller.

In general, the survival driver for humans has largely dissipated. In the last hundred years or so, we have found food and safety relatively easy to assure for the species and so our evolution has largely ceased.

In fact, our minds have moved so far away from the threat of survival that we don’t even re-posture ourselves when the survival of the planet is raised in discussion. While thinkers will debate it and try to gain traction, the idiots treat it as white noise.

They see it as little more than a one-way sign to be ignored.

They and their children push loudly past the signs and head in the wrong way without any thought or concern.

And it is their children that become the basis for the final devolution of humanity and the destruction of the planet.

You see, because the idiot children far-exceed in numbers the children of evolved people, they will live like idiots littering and abusing the planet until she breaks. And as they become idiot-adults, they vote in more idiots to make sure that humanity loses its ability to even save itself.

Let’s dig for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Let’s dig for oil in the gulf. Let’s relax emission control on vehicles and polluting plants. Let’s frack the shit out of the shale to get at that natural gas.

Only the idiots in the world think any of that stuff is a good idea.

So, why does it happen? Because there are more idiots out there voting in idiots.

And with evolution grinding to a halt, the numbers of idiots will far exceed those who think.

This my friends, is why I think democracy is destined to fail in the long term. One man one vote only works for the good of everyone when each “man” is of equal intelligence. If they are, then political shift occur only because of social or religious viewpoints.

When there becomes a disparity, we end up with a polarized view of life, such as we have here in America. No liberal intelligentsia will ever be able to discuss with a conservative idiot that first and foremost, the planet is the most important thing on the planet.

(footnote: not all liberals are intelligentsia nor are all conservatives idiots. Just at the extremes, they tend to be.)

In the meantime, we can put up as many signs as we want but if the idiots can’t read them, who exactly are the signs for?

… just a thought.


A few days ago I set out to go to Ballast Point. It was another early morning and the skies were clear so I settled into a real low-key decision, grabbed a coffee, packed the camera in the car and set off.

It was one of those moments where you have no pressure and no real expectations.

… where you are just heading off to do something enjoyable, not necessarily aiming to get anything from it.

I was probably doing ten below my normal speed as I crossed Tampa on the Crosstown and in that cruising mode I noticed that the riverwalk lights were on (it’s been a hit and miss with them lately) as I passed over the Hillsborough river.

Most unlike me, I just took an immediate exit. I don’t even know which exit I took and I made no conscious decision to do so. Just all of a sudden I hit a quick stop sign off the exit ramp and realized I didn’t even know where I was.

I mean, yes, I knew I was downtown. But what road and which direction … well, that was anyone’s guess. And of course without the sun to guide me, I relied on intuition rather than a legitimate sense of direction.

A few turns later and I found myself driving down beside a TV channel building and it came to a dead end in a roundabout that gently brushed the river bank.

So, I just jumped out of the car, grabbed the camera and climbed over a small railing, I found myself presented with a view of downtown that I hadn’t seen before and I was thrilled.

I lead off the little collection at the end of this blog with two images taken from that view and I hope you like them.

No one bothered me, no one made an issue of a car just parked on the roundabout and no one seemed upset that I was climbing over things and possibly being where I was not supposed to be.

Done, I climbed back in the car and found my way back onto the Crosstown and continued to Ballast Point.

It was gorgeous down there. But there were a group of fishing folk at the end of the pier and they had clearly been there all night. One or two seemed drunk, they seemed very disheveled and they had pretty much trashed the place.

You can’t really tell in the pics, although there is a fish head left in one and a tail … just lying on the railing as if they belonged there.

And it annoyed the fuck out of me. I don’t really have time for fun fishing anyway. I am very against anything that humans consider a sport where some innocent creature has to lose their life.

But for god sake … if you are going to savage some creature at least do them the respect of returning their head and tail to the water. I don’t expect you to be empathetic to the needless pain you have caused, but I do expect you to show a little respect for the creatures that you mutilate.

Is that too much to ask?

Someone commented on my camera and asked a question but I pretended not to hear and just walked back to the car.

So I seethed a bit on the way home and mulled over the whole lack of respect that certain people have and how accepted it has become in certain circles to just go through life as if life owes you something.

Empathy, humility, appreciation … traits that our parents generation displayed in abundance have slowly evaporated over the years and been replaced with entitlement, bravado, and selfishness.

Traits that used to lead to a person being ostracized for their display can now even get you elected president, for god sake. And I am not trying to take a pot-shot at the dotard, I am trying to make a statement how so many of what used to be negative qualities are now actually lauded.

But I don’t really want to talk about all these things. I know I have touched on many of them already. I just wanted to talk about the one … respect.

Respect requires a level of modesty and appreciation in order for it to be legitimate. A braggart or someone who takes everything as their due will never show real respect.

I mean, you can tip your hat, bow your head and call someone sir as much as you want. But that isn’t real respect. And frankly I am not even concerned about whether humans respect other humans any more. It’s questionable how many humans deserve it anyway.

No, I am talking about respect for the natural world. It requires us to take off our superiority-jacket and stand there among the creatures of the planet and be humbled among them.

It requires us to see a little beetle crossing your path and even helping him on his way. it requires us to pause and take in the majesty of a hawk as he soars on high. It requires us to treat all creatures with dignity and understand that regardless of what idiocy we might have been taught, creatures are not there for our disposal. Nor use. Nor entertainment.

Opposable thumbs don’t make us masters of the universe. It’s more likely that they evolved in that direction from incessant masturbation, than any other kind of mastery.

Respecting our planet requires us to accept our part in it. Not to imagine we can master it. Even a modicum of respect would have us on a road to preserving and not destroying it.

But humanity just doesn’t care. Some people do. But humanity doesn’t.

Killing off the planet that we live on tells you that humanity doesn’t even respect our very own children and the future we are making for them.

… just a thought.