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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sometimes While One Ponders . . .

. . . why she cannot write/is not writing despite being full of much to say, she could just post a couple of fairly credible pictures taken while on the brief outing away from home. I struggled with feeling that might appear just a little bit derivative, since so many bloggers post their photographs of flowers and the desert and - dang it! - some of the very same things I've aimed at. I prickle at appearing derivative. On the other hand, I went where I went and it's in the desert and cactus flowers abound, and cactus without flowers, and other sights that charmed me. If one can't be creative in one way, then try another. And keep trying to figure out about why the avoidance before going on the trip and why the avoidance since coming back. What's going on here?

I've written many times about feeling no urge to be a photographer. I've shared life with two different very talented such artists and it's made it just a little too easy for me to say, "Would you please aim your magical instrument over in that direction and see what you can get for me?" I'm lazy. I have to admit it. And I don't feel any fire to learn the operation of the camera to produce magic of my own. I'd rather play with words. Nevertheless, I'd be an idiot if I didn't know a little bit about how to capture a decent enough picture and I was lucky to do so on my trip.

I walk for miles in the street every day and on my visit to Arizona, I was fortunate to sleep in each day, pushing off at 6:00 a.m. The sun was just rising and the cactus flowers at their dewiest, not yet wilting from harsh sun. It charms me that the streets in Mother Badger's community are filled with walkers and golfers and cyclists and more at 6:00 a.m. And almost everyone speaks to say hello! I'm unaccustomed to that. For my few days, I added a camera to the usual iPod, BlackBerry, bottle of water and other various and sundry items. I was glad I did so!

I found love in the desert!

I'm charmed by a community where the residents
provide their
plants with courtesy umbrellas . . . .

And trim the trees into lollipops with white-painted trunks.
Good morning, Lollipop Tree!

Toward the end of this day's walk I came upon a blooming cactus I've photographed before in past years. I shot from several feet away and people could say, "Oh, nice cactus. Nice flowers." That was good enough for me. This time I approached it a little differently. I dropped to my knees and got in close. Some of the petals touched my hot, sweaty face. I tried a few shots, placing the sun over left or right shoulder. I tried both with and without macro. I like what I captured! I like the depth of the yellow and green pool with little hair-like structures and an alien hand with too many fingers. I like the dots in the far background that are the pores of the cactus plant. I like the milk-white ruffled petals and especially the ones in the upper righthand corner that appear to have sugar sprinkled on them. I'm purposely leaving this one at a very high resolution to keep the detail in. So that's how it's done! There are more to share, but this is my bravely trotted-out first. What do you think?

In my ears right now: Nothing. I'm too busy in my head trying to figure myself out. This is a rare occasion.

Something that charmed me: Mailman Steve just came by and gave me a stack of unremarkable mail. He was almost out the door when he groped inside his pouch and said, "Oh, I almost forgot!' It was for me personally. Both the return address and my address contained our blogger names. It needs its own complete post and I shall turn my attention to that, with the photos. I'm not only charmed, I'm astounded. This isn't the first time, but one of many special times that another blogger has reached out and touched me. It completely blows me away. Have I mentioned I think bloggers lean toward "kinder than most sorts"?


  1. very,very nice! i love the first and last shots the best. i had the same "derivative" conversation when i first dared to post. it came to me that everything is derivative, and you gotta start somewhere. bravo for stepping out!

  2. @ somh ~ I hope everyone gets it as long as I'm putting up pictures, that most of them are intended completely tongue-in-cheek like the two middle ones here. Simply, "Hey, here's what I saw and I thought to record it." The heart cactus was doomed (for me, anyway) because the only way to shoot it, except tear it out of the ground and move it, was against the impossible, flat white wall. I rankle terribly at "derivative", but I don't imagine there's very much left that hasn't been photographed or written about, and the flower pleased me considering my level of ability. So I stepped. I thank you for your "Bravo!"

  3. Gosh, i hope you're wrong about there being little left to write about or photograph. I loved the cactus bloom. Clouds of angel hair. I should have several roses in a couple of days. I'll see what I can get with my camera phone.

  4. @ Tag ~ I could have said that differently! I doubt there are many things left to be photographed or written about for the first time ever. But maybe many of us would want to put our own spin on what has gone before. Thank you re: my white cactus flower! Can't wait to see your roses. I've missed you and others. The 'sphere seems quiet and slowly updated.

  5. @ The Readers/Commenters ~ Mother Badger liked my white cactus flower and said it could hold its own even if compared to the work of a fine photographer. She said she would call it "Golden Wedding".

  6. The flower is a beautiful shot - like a Georgia O'Keefe painting - makes it so much more than just a cactus flower, more than a flower at all.

    Just be your dear self :)

  7. Sounds like you had a nice "derive" to Arizona in your car! I'm assuming your prickling is from the cactus?
    The thing is Les, These are YOUR pictures and that makes a difference to ME!
    I'm glad you got to put some miles on and have a bit of a getaway and a special delivery to greet you.
    And don't forget that for most of us anything cactus is exotic!
    xoxo Kim

  8. Ah, Les, the most we can hope for as artists of any sort is to be uniquely derivative.

    Flower and cactus shots - marvelous! And I love seeing what you saw along with your descriptions.

    Let me know when you get yourself figured out. Maybe I can use your math.

  9. @ Rachel ~ I do thank you, ringing in from the other side of the globe. I try, Rachel, I try very hard in most every endeavor to be my self. Yes, I split the word purposely. Remember, I am very specific about the words I choose to use. ;~}

  10. @ NuminosityBeads ~ OH, Kim, word games! And not the first time you've made me giggle by putting a spin on words. You and the others are making me rethink derivative. The prickle comes from being delusional. Delusional by thinking I'm not derivative, just like everyone else. Damn, creative constipation, derivative and delusional, all in one post! [Said with a big old cheeser on my face.] Thank you for this: "The thing is Les, these are YOUR pictures and that makes a difference to ME!" It both made me feel good AND made me think about derivative.

  11. @ Kass ~ my Sugarhouse Cookie, you've been quiet and I've been concerned about that just a little, given all you have on your plate. You also made me think with this: "Ah, Les, the most we can hope for as artists of any sort is to be uniquely derivative." Thank you.

    I have hard news for you, my friend. If we all lived in the imaginary village where each one of us was regarded as the expert of things we do well, I'd be the next-to-last villager called upon for figuring myself out OR for figuring out the math. But I'd be grand at telling stories to the children, leading them in craft projects, or putting together theme parties. Or maybe being the one who sits and tries to think of the meaning of just about everything.

    I'll be putting up more about my little trip. I can't seem to write about what I want to write about, I should not write about what I'm thinking about, so I'll just post the pictures and say, "This is what I saw."

  12. @ Everyone ~ Mother Badger rang in, via e-mail, and she sometimes adds some real zest to the commentary. Something I like about her is that she can cause me to think about a subject in a different way. I wonder if she's doing the third-grade-teacher-from-hell-mind-warp on me? I'm probably an easy mark for someone of her skill.

    So, MB has written more than once to say it interests her to read about my take on her home - rather like seeing it through someone else's eyes. She liked my photos and said one has to have a special eye to see the love in the cactus and capture it.

    Here is MB's take on derivative or not derivative: God is the only original one. The rest of us copy and rearrange, and that's creative, too.

    But, oh, her comment I liked best! MB hasn't seen the umbrella'ed plants in her neighborhood. She said she loved them, and who in the world did it? Then she said, "Glad to see some of us aren't all tight assed and have to conform." It pleased me to be able to tell her the umbrellas were right up on Meeker Blvd. diagonally across from the track. Because I know my way around that place! She told me other people think I'm more than an OK person. Life is good.

  13. All those pictures seem to be of domesticated plants. Different view of Nevada this time around. Interesting.

  14. It's niggling me to wonder what you really want to write about.
    Hmmm, MB puts a God in the mix. Would like to know more about that.

    Would love to start a village with you.

  15. I would love to walk in a new place like that, away from my familiar Rust Belt locale. Thanks. I loved the pix.

  16. @ Kirk ~ It's Arizona, my friend. Very different plant life (very different desert) from Nevada. I think that's why I'm so giddy down there - it's so different for me.

  17. @ Kassie ~ Ha! You busted me. I want to write about everything there is and not in chronological order [or any other kind of order].

    For the record, Kass, I've never heard MB the name of god before, so I think her point was more abstract: only the first one up was original and all the rest of us have been derivative.

    Let's start the village! You may be queen. I don't need to be that.

  18. @ Erin ~ It is VERY good of you to say that, Erin, since I practically snatched your Phone Cam Roun-Up format from between your jaws. In payment for my transgression, I'd love to walk those streets with you. Much, much more to come, I'm just having re-entry issues after my trip and can't hit my stride.