With all of our postings in our photo challenge, we bring up memories of forgotten people, times, and things  or we start by making new memories. Today, I want to make a special post.

On this day, in the United States, we pledge to remember those who have fought our wars.  In looking up Memorial Day, I found  on that Waterloo, New York was the declared the first place that Memorial Day was held back in 1866, but other states have their own claim to being the first, including Columbus, MS.

On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,”  he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

Originally it was to honor those who were lost serving in the Civil War, but  World War I changed the day to honor those from all wars.  States incorporated a day for honoring their soldiers.  The Northern states used the Decoration Day or Memorial Day, and the Southern States had their own dates.  It wasn’t until 1968, that Congress set aside the last Monday in May to be Memorial Day.

Now holding honorings for fallen soldiers is not new.  The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to the 1.1 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars:   “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.”

In December 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. 

This is my post – honoring all those who serve, by placing their lives in harms way, they give not only their bodies but their minds and souls.   There are no words to Thank You enough.

A couple of photos from Antietam Rememberance Antietam

Rememberance Antietam-2 And the beginning of our nation – in Boston – to those who were so young – Rememberance Boston

Thank You



Week 43 – #31 Out of Control

31 Out of Control-231 Out of ControlLet me introduce the Gannets – one of the most uncoordinated birds.  These seabirds are known for their diving abilities and their ability to fish.   Gannets can dive from a height of 30 meters, achieving speeds of 100 km/h as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds.  They are large black and white birds with yellow heads.   The central tail feathers are also black. The head is yellow, with a pale blue-grey bill edged in black, and blue-rimmed eyes, long pointed wings that are closely related to the boobies.  And though they might be great divers but they are not very good landers.  They fly in with their legs and feet up, and then they basically just roll forward smacking their face into the ground.  Try as I may, I always managed to have another Gannet in the way of getting that face smack down.  But I did get partial landing.

They breed in colonies and these were taken at Cape Kidnappers near Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand.  It is known as one of the only mainland colony with the others all off shore.  It is a protected area helping the Gannets to restore the population.  We were able to get right up to the colony.  There were even a couple of benches, where I sat with my camera and tripod to enjoy watching the young ones prepare to fly and the adults taking off and landing.

Say Hello to my Lil’ Friend.

31 Out of Control-3

Week 42 – #20 I wish I could / I am sorry I did

20 I wish I could_ I am sorry I didThe groans will start with this one…..
I saw this picture of the sheep butting its head against the tree and as you can see they have been sheared.  This was taken at the end of summer, so in my mind, the sheep is thinking “I really wanted that heavy wool off of me, but that was weeks ago. Now it is getting colder at night, I am sorry I let them shear me NOW. ”
All of this surprised me at the timing.  I know nothing about sheep or when you shear them, but it seems odd that the shearing is done as summer ends and the temperatures start to fall.  As I read more about it, they are shorn once a year, and depending on climate and local practice, some leave some of the wool on the sheep, which is what these look like with the ripples in the remaining wool.

Week 40 – #29 – Mirrored Image

29 - Mirrored Image

We are drawing down to the last themes and as it has been said by a few others, now it is starting to get difficult because you know we did the easy ones first.  Now, mirrored image is not a particularly hard photograph to do, and there are many ways to do a mirrored image.  Using an actual mirror is one way, windows or glass doors are another and then there is water, and there are other items you can use like eyeglasses, a pitcher, etc.  Living in Florida, we have a lot of water, though it not usually so completely calm that we can do a true mirrored image.  I was fortunately enough, in that while my sister and her husband were down visiting on the other coast, she asked me to go with them to McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach.  They have some lovely gardens with lots of bridges and paths that make this place wonderful for wedding photography. If you are in the Vero Beach area, you should check them out, there is a wonderful hall there with a table that is almost as long as the hall itself that looks to be from one piece of wood.  It is very grand to see.

One of the bodies of water had the palm trees and lily pads with perfectly calm water, it almost looked like I was taking a photograph of the trees and sky, but the lily pads give it away.  The photo was flipped upside down as the trees were actually growing down in the reflection.

Week 39 – #52 What’s Cooking

52 - Whats Cooking-2 52 - Whats CookingI am not going to say I am a food photographer.  Such as proved here.

But those who know me, know I could eat seafood for every meal.  On my October trip to Canada and New England, we stopped on Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Being from Connecticut, I am used to seeing PEI mussels.  PEI is relatively close and that saves on shipping costs and makes the mussels fresher.  Only since I have had them before, I ate full bellied clams while I was there, since you don’t find that many places either.

Now on the latest trip to New Zealand, I had the opportunity to try New Zealand’s green lipped mussels.  Pictured above, taken from two different angles are these behemoths!  This was the first time I have had mussels so big that I had to cut them to eat them.  Truly!!!

These are one of the largest mussel species.  The New Zealand Greenshell mussel industry operates within some of the strictest quality standards in the world and they have been recognized as being one of the top two eco friendly seafoods in the world.  

So if you ever venture to Auckland, New Zealand, down near the waterfront there are a number of cafes/restaurants overlooking the harbor where the sailing vessels dock.  The V Grill (Viaduct Grill) is where we ate, and I ordered a half kilo (just over a pound) which was only 8 or 9 mussels done just perfectly in a light wine/cream broth.  And don’t think the size detracted from the taste. Not One Bit.

My mouth is watering just thinking about how wonderful these mussels were, and it has been 3 months since I had them.  PEI mussels don’t stand a chance against these bad boys.   Dang, now I am hungry and let’s see its only 19 + hours fly time to New Zealand………

Week 38 – # 30 Other Photographers

30 Other PhotographersI am going to get something out in open that gets to me when doing photography – and I am hoping my friend(s) will forgive me for using them for this post.

On our trip / cruise of Canada and New England, I was going to take this photo of my friends, Georgia, Gloria and Lloyd in front of the water fall just north of Quebec, but then Becky was thinking the same thing too, so …. I took her taking a photo of them getting all of them (all be it only the back of Becky’s head) in the photo.

Now, I have had people walk up in front of my camera/lens and stick their camera, iphone or ipad right in front of my lens at numerous places.  The first time it happened, I was so dumb-founded I could not even think of anything witty to say.  The second time, all I could muster was “REALLY!?”  One time while in Yellowstone National Park, while getting ready with a long lens on my camera which was on a tripod positioned right on the wall overlooking the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, a lady stuck her IPAD in front of my lens.  I was good.  I thought about tipping the tripod forward and taping her IPAD which would have caused her to drop it as she was leaning to get around my tripod and in front of the long lens hanging over the wall.  But I didn’t.  I can say it took all I had not to, though.  Oh and she never said a word to me.

Now this photo is not the same thing, because Becky was there first.  It just reminded me of those other people with iphones and ipads.

There is a general rule of etiquette when out photographing in nature that somehow many people are forgetting –

1) Be mindful of your shadow if you walk up to another photographer that your shadow is not falling into their photograph.

2) If there is a body of water that is calm and a photographer is setting up their shot, be careful not to do anything that will cause a change in the water – your reflection or ripples.

3) Wait your turn if you want to take a photograph from the same spot as someone else, wait.  If it is a sunrise  – sunset that can’t wait – then, ask if you can position your tripod close without getting your lens, tripod leg or something else in their photo. They were there first.

4) Do not walk in front of another photographer without asking if they are done or ok for you to enter the space.    This is a big one for me.

There are alot more but I will not bore you any further.  I appreciate you letting me rant.

I try to pack my patience with me when out in the wild, but sometimes – it is pushed as far as I can take it and my dentist wants me to stop grinding my teeth – at people who left their manners at home.

Thank you to Georgia, Gloria, Lloyd and Becky – great friends.