Wednesday, July 27, 2011




At 6 a.m. this morning our thermometer was showing 55F & what a nice change that was from our recent sticky heat.  I was back into my warm snuggly flannel pajamas complete with my favorite warm blanket across my lap.  My recliner faces southeast & just off to my left we have a large picture window.  In the mornings I am able to watch the first rays of sunlight filtering through the Pine trees eventually touching down on our living room floor.  We have one of our doggy beds there & if the little Motormouse is asleep on the bed the sun's rays softly tip toe through the window & bathe her in a warm glow being ever so careful not to wake the sleeping little Mouse.



Russ from TRAVELS IN THERAPY sent me an email this morning with his memories of the Disney shows years ago & his thoughts about growing up in a different era those oh so many years ago.  Of course that set my own memory banks into gear thinking & remembering days gone by.  I'm sure glad I am still able to remember many things from yesteryear.  It's my short term memory I have problems with, not my long term memory.

And this is how I remember it......Heating water on an old cast iron coal/wood stove for washing, once a week baths, bringing in water from a pump outside, coal oil lamps for when the electricity went off as it frequently did, no television, wind up clocks, buckled galoshes on cold winter feet , a hand crank phone on the wall, pee pots under the bed, wooden sided refrigerator where you put a big block of ice in the top part, no such thing as a supermarket & fish was pedaled on Fridays from a man pushing a wagon around my little home town of Tavistock Ontario, Canada.  Knives could be sharpened the same way & milk was delivered by a horse drawn wagon.  I can still see our local chicken farmer standing just inside our door with his wooden basket of freshly killed chickens.  A folded white cloth covered 2 or 3 at a time & that is how my Mother selected & bought our meat in those days.



A big old wooden floor model radio was the main source of entertainment in our house & my Mother, my Grandfather, my Uncle Fred & I would gather around it Sunday night's for 'Our Miss Brooks, Fibber McGee & Molly, the Great Gildersleeve & many other great old time radio shows. Arthur Godfrey in the mornings, Gunsmoke & Gangbusters on Saturday nights. We had a crank up Victrola with old 78 RPM records which I would constantly listen to. My Mother could play piano by ear & it was always a great treat for me to sit on the piano bench beside her as she played our favorite piece, Greensleeves. Our house always had music in it & I'm very grateful for that to-day. Whether it was the radio, the Victrola, my Mother on the piano or an old record player years later, there was always music in the house. To this very day I still surround myself with music 24/7.

Sometimes I would like nothing better than to just climb aboard a time machine to go back & turn on that big old wooden floor model radio again.  I'd like to tune in Amos & Andy &gather round in the living room with my Mother, my Grandfather, & my Uncle Fred to listen & laugh once again to a simple humor that is all but lost now. A way of life, a way of family, a way of remembering. Some day's the old memories just keep on coming & coming......and I like that:))



One of my favorite hobbies is to throw my camera gear in the Jeep & head off out into the countryside looking for a few photo opportunities.  Just haven't had the inspiration to do that this Spring & Summer until this morning.  Maybe it has been the extreme heat or maybe just the events of the past couple months.  Regardless, it was a beautiful morning & I thoroughly enjoyed meandering around the back roads stopping for a photo here, a couple photos there & just enjoying the peace & tranquility of our pastoral rural countryside.

Some of our newer readers have been inquiring as to what kind of a camera I use so I will address the next few paragraphs to that.  I actually have 4 cameras & Kelly has one of her own as well. (Canon Powershot A430)  In total, I have 2 Canons & 2 Nikons, well 3 Nikons if you consider the one I dropped & broke this past winter in Arizona.  That was my Nikon D50 which had been my work horse for the past 5 years.  Great camera & it never let me down. 

I replaced the D50 with a new Nikon D90 & I carry a 1:3.5-5.6D 18-55mm lens on that.  I have had this lens for about 5 years & have probably taken 80% of all my photos with it.  My 2 Nikons are DSLR's & the 3 Canon's are all point & shoots.  More about my 2 Canons further on.

 DSC_4152 DSC_0005

NIKON D90 WITH 18-55mm LENS                   NIKON D40 WITH 70-300mm LENS 

My second DSLR camera is an older Nikon D40 which I really love for it's simpler ways & durability.  I use this camera for most of my telephoto shots.  Up until a year ago I carried a Nikkor 55-200 light weight lens on this camera & all my telephoto pics up until the early summer of 2010 were done with this lens.  I carry that lens as a spare now because I replaced it with an AF-S NIKKOR 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6G lens.  Nice lens but very heavy compared to the much lighter 55-200.


It was actually this newer lens I had on my D50 when I accidentally pulled it off a table onto a cement porch floor at the Lazy W Ranch this past winter near Elfrida, Arizona.  Amazingly the lens survived the fall with the camera bearing the brunt of the crash.  Talk about an absolutely sick feeling when that happened.  But, when considered, the number of years & frequency of camera gear I've used I can't really complain.  Only other piece of equipment I damaged was back in 1989 when I dropped a Tamron zoon lens & had to have it sent back to the factory for repairs.

I carry a point & shoot Canon Powershot A720iS in the Jeep & I have a newer Canon Powershot SX210iS that I carry with me at all times either in a buttoned up shirt pocket or in a leather case on my belt.  When we are out hiking a mountain trail somewhere I am usually packing 3 cameras with me.  Probably wouldn't need the Canon but it's on my belt anyway so along it goes.  Kelly will sometimes use it to take photos of me lying on the trail unable to get up because of all the camera gear I am carrying.  



Should mention here also that I have all my cameras 'tweaked' which means I have changed the settings to my liking rather than the factory default settings.  And I do not use any of them on their 'full Auto' settings simply because 'auto' always seems to overexpose the photos.  Most of my photos are generally done at least a half to a full stop underexposed.  Picked up that little tip a few years ago from KEN ROCKWELL'S photo site.  Photos are then generally easier to work with in my free & easy to use PICASA 3.8 PHOTO EDITING PROGRAM.

HENRY'S CAMERA STORE is headquartered in Toronto Canada but I bought my 3 Nikon cameras & 3 lenses plus a tripod at Henry's London Ontario store.  My D50 was a sale special coupled with the 18-55mm & 50-200mm lens & that was how I ended up choosing Nikon over Canon that day.  The 55-300mm lens went on sale & that's why I grabbed it a year ago.  I am not a 'brand loyal' guy simply because both Canon & Nikon make excellent cameras & lenses.


Anyway, that's enough camera stuff for tonight but I'll be back in the coming days & weeks with lots more thoughts such as, why I prefer to photo alone, camera clubs, the pros & cons of taking too many photos of a single subject, when does a photo hobby not become fun, why I'm not a tech head photo guy, photo contests, natural lighting & why I watch the sky, anticipating a photo, Nikon vs Canon, why I don't normally carry a camera bag, etc. etc. etc.    

THE LAST PARAGRAPH:  I don't know about anyone else out here but if I'm not feeling up to par either mentally or physically, one of the first things to suffer is my ambition & creativity.  I have had to rely a fair bit on my file photos these past months because I just haven't felt a whole lot like picking up the cameras.   Therefore I have not been out & about like in previous summers.  I think this morning may have marked my first photo outing since being home from the Southwest.  Sure felt good to be out scrambling around with a couple cameras weighing me down again......10-4:))



  • If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented? 
  • Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn't zigzag?
  • .What's another word for thesaurus? 

    .What do you call two Mexicans playing basketball?    Juan on Juan.

    Q. How do you double the value of a Yugo?
    A. You fill it with gas.

    The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right
    now...... AL.


    1. Love your photo of the hay bales -- we have seen so many fields of hay bales of all sizes and shapes and have never slowed down to take any pictures -- glad you did! Martha

    2. The hollyhocks are beautiful, and I really like the composition of the shot.

    3. I am so happy to hear that you felt like taking an outing this morning with your cameras. And what a joy for us to enjoy.

    4. Glad you had the desire to get out and enjoy photography and the countryside road trip. It's always nice to get out with nature and the country. You seem to really enjoy photography and do so grand with it. Keep going with that passion and enjoy the heck out of it. After all, it fills you up doing it and that is so important. Also you're sharing it with others helps us too!

    5. Good post Al, just may inspire me to get out with my own camera`s

    6. Al, thanks for the memories...and the great photos.

    7. Love the hollyhock shot. Thanks for posting some about your cameras and set ups. The weight of carrying all that stuff around is one thing that hinders me from using my equipment like I want to. I got a Cotton Carrier (recommended by Kate at Cholula Red) but even with that, it all seems awfully heavy. I salute you for being able to drag it all around with you.

      Loved the memories you posted. Some of them are mighty familiar!!

    8. Hi! Al A few blogs ago you gave use a lot of information about how you choose your subject.

      You mentioned that your approach was from a artist point of view but you considered yourself as a photographer and not a artist.

      Well I do watercolor painting and that is the exact approach I use. The hardist thing to learn is to see what you are at.

      So Al in my book you are an artist.


    9. Hay!! you have inspired most of us to get out there and take some new shots of the old neighbourhood..
      as far as memories go?..I can remember the 'fuller brush man' coming to the door...I must have been about 5 or 6!!..and the milkman with the glass bottles!!..funny how some things just stay with you no matter what!..hope you have many more jeeping days this summer!!

    10. Thanks Al for the great camera info and the walk down memory lane. I also remember the glass milk bottles that the milk man delivered. He delivered them to a small milk chute we had at the side of our house.
      Another use of that milk chute was whenever my parents forgot their keys. I was always elected to crawl threw the milk chute and unlock the doors.
      Great post!!

    11. And how about the Rags-A-Lion man coming down the alley with his horse drawn cart...and shoveling coal into the furnace. :)

    12. GREAT post & beautiful photos....

    13. Your shot of the hollyhocks really drew our attention this morning. And that first picture of the Jeep and the hay bale -- you had to walk quite a distance to get the exact shot your photographer's eye knew was there. Good job!

    14. We had a scissor and knife sharpener who brought his wagon down the street...My grandma's floor model Victrola is now at my son's house, with all the old John Phillip Sousa records..
      As for your last paragraph...I'm right there with ya...