All about Eve

While much of the world was engaged in last-minute shopping and readiness chaos for the day that followed, some of us here in Florida got to spend a quiet Christmas Eve, just breathing in life and enjoying ourselves.

It was a cool start to a near-perfect day across the sunshine state and with the cats all fed, I wandered down to my favorite early-morning spot and watched twilight paint the blue skies with yellows and oranges.

I wasn’t the first arrival and at the end of the pier was a lovely young lady, rod-in-hand, coffee at her side, and a gaze firmly fixed on what the horizon was doing.

With her permission, I made her the silhouetted subject of my morning shoot and I have attached some of the pics at the end of the blog for you to check out.


As the yellows finally faded, I bid her and Lake Parker adieu and headed off home to the kitties that would no doubt be eagerly awaiting my return and the inevitable flow of treats that my return would bring.

But as I drove away from this early morning scene, I thought about how perfectly in-the-moment my subject had been. I had seen her before a couple of times, with her partner, fishing or hooping and she told me this time, how she likes to start most of her days in this way.

In my mind, this is a genuine example of someone appreciating life’s current moment for what it is.

Much of our focus is on something that is yet to happen, to the detriment of the moment we are living in and our culture continues to pull us away from what we are now experiencing in order to anticipate something in the future.

The classic examples of this are Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, when the value of each of these days is merely that they precede something more important.

But our culture pushes us far harder than that. How many times have you been watching something on TV and within moments of it starting they are already advertising next week’s episode. A game you have been eagerly waiting for is just under way and they are pitching the explosive, highly-anticipated game that will follow, or airs tomorrow.

Or how when one election is over, they immediately start talking about the next one four years away. Some of us aren’t even guaranteed four minutes into the future, let alone four years … so, how relevant is this pitch to our lives?

This whole coming-soon narrative has nothing to do with what is actually coming soon. Because as soon as that arrives, they will be telling you about something else.

While a lot of people get caught up in this anticipation-frenzy, what they fail to understand is that real life is what is happening right now.

Not what is about to happen (might or might not). The relevance of something that hasn’t happened only exists in our willingness to devote energy to the anticipation.

Moving the goal-posts and shifting our horizon is a sad trait in today’s world. I fully understand the need to advertise and promote but we hype everything so much in advance that even if they do finally happen, they rarely live up to the promise.

And even if they were to live up to it, so what? How did we spend our days leading up to it? Did we lose focus on what was happening right around us as we imagined how great something else might be when it finally arrives?

We only have one life and it doesn’t exist in the coming soon category. It exists in the here and now.

In the US, over 8,000 people die every day. For them, there is no tomorrow and if that is where their focus was, then they have missed out on the value of their last day on earth. That translates to 56,000 people who won’t make it to next week’s episode, so hopefully they won’t have wasted too much energy in anticipating an answer to who shot JR?

Every breath we take is in the moment we find ourselves in. We can choose to breathe that in at the end of a pier watching the sky come alive or we can focus on what lies ahead … that day, that week, that month.

Living is in the present and if we are to give ourselves one little present today, then living is the one must-have this holiday season.

… just a thought.

Limited Visibility

It has been a crazy couple of weeks and with almost no time to shoot and less time to blog, I found myself lost in a deep fog of chaotic activity.

When I reflected on that, this morning, I reminded myself that I had actually taken some fog shots over a week ago that had made it off my camera but had not reached their blog-home. (Which is where nearly all my images these days end up).

So, I sought them out a moment ago and have placed them here. They were taken on a particularly foggy morning … one that I was up early enough to run into Tampa and explore what the fog was doing to the skyline.

The drive into town was challenging, to say the least and here are a couple of phone pics to show what I mean about the driving conditions. They aren’t good quality but should give you an idea. There were several moments where I could see no one else on the road in either direction and it felt almost as if the world had ended and I was the last one left alive.

But, if that were true, then there is little purpose to this blog as I already know what I am about to say. So, for the sake of argument (and this blog), I will assume that some of you are still alive and have made it to the end of this paragraph with me.

I did stop at the ball field on the way down, so one of the pics is from there. The others show how the Tampa skyline disappeared under the enveloping fog. They are at the end of the blog … enjoy!

So, anyway, this whole foggy experience gave birth to thoughts on how in life, clarity of our path can often be hampered by events or situations that just descend on us out of nowhere.

Like a fog, they arrive with little notice and suddenly things become more difficult to navigate through. It might be something work related but more often it is a life-happening or health.

Our brains need clarity of thought in order to be able to move forward in life. Whatever goals we are working to are normally only reachable when we know where we are heading and can see the path ahead of us.

So, when things appear from nowhere and begin to fog up our minds, we can stall, get lost, or begin to move in a wrong direction.

Whether the fog is caused by a single big issue or an overwhelming sense of smaller issues happening at the same time, the effect can be the same. So, like the road sign above “Limited Visibility, Use Caution” we need to slow down and become more aware of what is happening around us.

We may have to deal with these issues or we may need to out-wait them, as sometimes these events are within our power to address and other times not.

But, either way, we need to recognize their presence and be careful when they are with us. Make note of the immediate impact of whatever is happening and understand that like real fog, they will dissipate in time.

So, issues that dissipate should never be allowed to take us away from a life-path. They are only temporary and therefore their effect should never be allowed to be permanent.

I have seen people allow a temporary work-emergency to impact their personal life. They get overwhelmed in a work-mode and end up damaging their home relationship or missing major family-related events. Then when the work issue has evaporated, they are still left with the damage or loss of something at home.

Whenever we have limited visibility of our path ahead, we should be careful to not allow this visibility stop us from getting to our destination. We can definitely slow down and watch out for whatever the events are so that their damage is minimized on our life journey.

But we don’t abandon our journey because of reduced visibility. Nor do we go somewhere different.

Life’s journey doesn’t guarantee a fog-free road. It only guarantees an origin and a destination.

Though I slowed down considerably on my drive to Tampa and occasionally became unsure of where I was, I still made sure that I stayed on the road and didn’t end up in Miami.

Yes I would have arrived at my destination in the same state, but once the fog cleared I would have eventually been smacked with the realization that “I’m in Miami Bitch”. Good song, but bad choice.

… just a thought.


It was a week of sunrises (most weeks are) and I decided to try to get down most mornings to Lake Parker to capture some of the twilight variances.

Normally, sunrises are quite special in Florida and I have become adept at guessing whether we are about to have a good one or not.

So, it was good fun setting out each morning in total darkness and trying to guess what magic lay ahead.

Other than a couple of foggy mornings, most of the twilights served up something special and I returned from the lake invigorated and ready for whatever the day would serve up.

Day 3 served up a very unusual sequence of lights far off in the sky that moved so fast it could not have been a plane. So, in the middle of all these pics was a genuine UFO capture.

Then, there was also the one morning in fog where the camera decided to turn the fog blue and I have no idea why, I was in manual setting and made no adjustment but all of a sudden this one pic came out blue.

Anyway, I have staged my selection from each day at the end of the blog. I hope you enjoy.

By the time this morning rolled around, I reflected on how normalized I had become to expecting great sunrises. It is an idiosyncrasy of us humans to adjust our level of normal to whatever we become used to.

We apply normal to ourselves and our approach to things also. And then we seek to judge others by how far away from our definition they are. In photo sessions (and in life) I have dealt with people on both ends of a spectrum to where they are so far apart, it is hard to imagine it is a single spectrum.

Yet almost everyone thinks they are normal. Just like everyone thinks they are a good driver, or quite intelligent. And yet they are probably none of the above.

Within our environment, normal is a state in which we are comfortable and often wish to return to, when something comes in and disturbs us.

Yet, there is no universal normal. And the normal for each of us might be heaven for one and hell for another.

Governments and judicials seek to establish normal for whatever their region or responsibility is. Then they seek to punish those that don’t fit within their definitions. Arrests, removals, and penalties often await those that don’t fit in with their definitions.

It’s why I struggle to buy into the whole concept of pornography, for example. What you might find abhorrent and indecent, I might find totally acceptable. What one country might find barely racy, another might find deserving of imprisonment and 50 lashes.

But my thoughts this morning weren’t so much about different norms across societies or social groups. It was really about the inner feeling we get of something feeling normal to us. And when it doesn’t.

We can be glibly following our own path through our life, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, we get sideswiped by something. Normally it is something bad. We are rarely sideswiped by something good, so typically the happening alters how we are living in a negative context.

So, once the shock of the event is over, we are left with a yearning for normal again. Our normal.

And sometimes, life never returns to the normal we knew and our life establishes a new normal for us. Perhaps we lose a loved one, or find out we have cancer, or lose one of our senses. Invariably these happenings will alter the lives of the most resilient of us. How can they not?

It can be as individual a happening as a personal loss. They say you never really value something (or someone) until you have lost them. The loss can be so profound as to create a different version of us. But at the very least it becomes life-altering.

It can also be as societal as a pandemic. To where almost all our lives are altered irrevocably with masks, vaccines, travel restrictions, and reduced socialization.

I say “almost all” because some people who isolated from the world in the first place; artists, internet-inhabitants, and work-from-home devotees, have been barely altered in their normal.

A couple of years ago, we may have viewed such people as abnormal, fringe-livers, and hermits. Yet now we have all taken several steps closer to their version of normal and away from our own.

So, I guess the final thought that I am trying to share is that whatever your normal is, enjoy it. It will likely change and your life will never feel quite the same.

Somehow, wherever we find ourselves in life is where we are.

Wishing we were somewhere else in place and time is a fools errand.

Striving to make our lot in life better is always a good thing, but being unhappy with where we are is not.

Strange as it may seem, the days we are in now will one day become the good old days for most of us. it’s why I hate taking family pics; we all smile for the camera and then in later years when looking at the old photos, recall how happy we once were.

When Igor was sent out to get a brain from the lab in Young Frankenstein and returned with the one labeled A.B. Normal, who’s to say the person writing the label wasn’t a bit odd. Frankie turned out to be quite a decent human being, at it turned out.

… just a thought.

one day later

then another

and another

and finally