haiku, photography, serendipity

Between Seasons in 2019

Where I live, 11-19 is usually too late for fall colors and too early for snowflakes.  Recent past and near future met when Fortune smiled on an out-of-season CDHK challenge posted 2019-11-14.
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Carpe Diem #1781 The Quest For A New Masterpiece Continues … colorful autumn

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Between Seasons #1
|Lost autumn colors,
|but garden flag remembers.
|Snow on power lines.

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The rules and examples for this challenge allow marking the cut with punctuation and tweaking the cut when swapping the initial and final lines.  Let’s do that.

power-lines-snow_840x721

Between Seasons #2
|Snow on power lines.
|But garden flag remembers
|lost autumn colors.

garden-flag-snow_840x1126

haiku, humor, photography

Fall Frolic

October is Chores Can Wait Month.  I took a short walk that inspired a haiku, but the chore gremlins got their revenge when the haiku generated yet another chore.  That’s OK.  Writing about the nuts and bolts of haiku beats raking leaves.
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Fall Frolic #1
|Dancing on the breeze,
|ignorant of gravity:
|red leaf in blue sky.

Nuts and Bolts

My haiku has “#1” in its title to distinguish it from a similar haiku Fall Frolic #2.  I prefer #1.  Why bother with #2 at all?  The answer to that question helps answer some others.

Fall Frolic #1 implicitly poses a riddle, then provides the answer.  Who is the ignorant dancer?  More subtly, why is (s)he said to be dancing “on” (not “in” or “with”) the breeze?  The basic structure is the same as in Jane Reichold’s classic

roasting_veg_chkn_800x575

Haiku © Jane Reichold superimposed on
Photo © Vladlena Azima | ShutterStock

Now consider swapping the initial and final lines of my riddle haiku:

Fall Frolic #2
|Red leaf in blue sky,
|ignorant of gravity:
|dancing on the breeze.

While #2 describes the same scene #1, it lacks the suspense and resolution of the riddle structure.  While both versions work, #1 works better.  I still owe U an explanation: why bother with #2 at all?

The first draft for what eventually became #1 had initial and final lines that were very close to the corresponding lines in #2.  The middle line had an entirely different way of hinting that the leaf’s freedom is a temporary illusion, between being stuck on the tree and stuck on the ground.  The first draft’s hint would have been too obscure w/o either an appropriate picture or the explicit scene setting done by the initial line in #2.

Already unhappy with the first draft’s middle line, I swapped initial and final lines on a whim.  The resulting riddle structure was motivation to get serious about clarifying the middle line.

Some haiku poets strive to have the initial and final lines be interchangeable.  Unless I am responding to a challenge calling for haiku that work just as well when the initial and final lines are swapped, I usually do not consider swapping.  Too gimmicky and arcane.  But a swap while revising might help answer the eternal writers’ questions

Am I saying what I want to say?

Am I saying it clearly?

red-leaf_blue-2_haiku-144_840x465

 

haiku, humor, photography

Gray Squirrel

North American gray squirrels are famously good at raiding “squirrel-proof” bird feeders.  At best, the obstacles persuade most squirrels to look elsewhere (most of the time).  Dunno about Japanese squirrels, but they do have a tradition to uphold.
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Carpe Diem #1765 Squirrel …

squirrel_840x636

Gurērisu
|Jump! Grab! Swing hips up!
|Nimble ninja hogs the seeds.
|Birds have a long wait.

haiku, humor, photography

Enemy of My Enemy

To a female mosquito, I look like lunch: a big bag of nice warm blood.  So the mosquito is my enemy.  But I also have a friend.  My haiku about their interaction could respond to a prompt for either the friend or the enemy.
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Carpe Diem #1762 Mosquitoes …

One day in 2015, I happened to arrange my lunch veggies so as to look a little like a dragonfly, with snow peas as wings.  Hmmm.  Maybe I could pull more veggies from the fridge and make an arrangement that looks a lot like a dragonfly to me.  (No real dragonfly would be fooled.)  This little project reminded me that a dragonfly is the enemy of my enemy, and thus my friend.

Dragonfly_480x481

What’s for Lunch?
|Mosquitoes in flight
|are seen as meat on the hoof
|by a dragonfly.

 

history, humor, photography

Gourds, Peppers, and Progress

Unpacking groceries prompts me to salute a milestone in photographic history.  Really.  Nagging gourds and sexy peppers have a lot to say about kinds of progress and accepting responsibility for choices, in photography and beyond.
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§1: 2019-09-23

“Buy me!” says the wonderfully colored gourd.  I refuse:

“No, I’ve already bought what I need for this year’s fall decorations.  There’s no room for another gourd.”

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“But I’m new and special.  Look at the feathering between my greens.”

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“OK.”

I put the gourd in the cart, check out, and drive home.  As I unpack the groceries, I happen to set the new gourd down in a way that is vaguely reminiscent of a reclining nude.  Then I recall a milestone in photographic history.

§2: 1927 — 1930

Edward Weston’s meticulous closeup photos of scores of common objects (notably bell peppers) are marvels of imagination and ingenuity.  They also prompt one critic to remark that Weston’s peppers look like nudes while his nudes look like peppers.

Pepper-1930-30P

Weston works in grayscale (aka “black and white”).  The color of a pepper would only be a distraction anyway.  While people have various skin colors, nobody’s skin is red or green.

§3: 2019-09-27

“Buy us!” say 3 colorful gourds.  I refuse:

“No, I’ve already bought an extra gourd that I will use to salute Edward Weston.”

“Last year, U bought a total of 10.  We’ll just bring it up to 8.”

“Last year’s gourds were smaller and came in bags of 5.”

“Weston bought more than 30 peppers.”

“But he could eat them when he was done shooting.”

“Puhleeze!”

“OK.”

gourds-3#_840x547

I’m a pushover.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

§4: Now and Forever

Remember when cameras used analog film, color darkroom work was sorcery, and color prints faded under museum lighting?  Artistic photographers had to work in grayscale.  Viewers did not pine for color in the masters’ photos.

Sadly, some photographers mistook a temporary necessity for a permanent virtue.  Wanna create a colorful image?  Buy some tubes of paint.  Stick with grayscale for artistic photography.

The sweeping general assertion of grayscale’s intrinsic superiority was a gross insult to Eliot Porter (and to all who hiked the trails he blazed in color photography).

Some photos do look better in grayscale than in color.  Maybe something with interesting contours and textures happens to have distracting colors.  Grayscale is great for Weston’s peppers.

Sometimes progress replaces an old thing with a new one that is all-around better, as in the transition from analog film to digital pixels.  The transition from obligatory grayscale to color (in varying degress of saturation) is a subtler kind of progress that adds choices.  Lots of choices.

Photo editing software supports having some color classes or parts of an image be more saturated than others.  Done casually and obtrusively, it can be gimmicky.  Done carefully and subtly, it can work with other edits to greatly improve a photo.  One of the contemporary photographers I admire steps thru instructive examples:

What I Am Working On: Building Blocks

What I Am Working On: Fiddling

If U choose to desaturate a photo (either partially or all the way to grayscale), I may disagree with that choice.  I will still respect it, but only as a specific choice.  What I won’t respect is a blanket assertion that photos “should” be in grayscale.  Or in color.  Or have shallow depth of focus.  Or have everything in focus. Or whatever.

Here is one blanket pronouncement that I do respect, in photography and beyond:

Don’t hide behind sweeping generalities.
Own your choices.

(reblog), flowers, humor, photography

Capturing the Unexpected

While the juxtapositions collected by Mitch Teemley are all clever and funny, the ballerina/tulip photo is special.  Because their stems keep growing and tend to flop over, tulips are tricky in flower arrangements.  It’s one of life’s (littler) lemons.  The ballerina/tulip photo makes lemonade.
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Mitch Teemley

Coincidence? I Think Not.

Life, as mentioned in the first Capturing the Unexpected post, is sometimes horrible, sometimes beautiful, and always just a little bit weird. Why is that? (Lean in close and I’ll tell you.) It’s because we’re weird! We find comedy in calamity, meaning in meaninglessness, truth in absurdity. Coincidence? Nope. We’re wired that way. Don’t you love it when someone captures proof?

(Click on any image to enlarge it, or to begin slide show)

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flowers, haiku, photography

Lavender Elegy

My lavender rhododendron contributes a visual elegy to the Memorial Day observances in 2019.  Memorial Day is a time for sadness, along with the pride and gratitude that the same plant helped visualize in 2018.
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Memorial Colors
|Lavender salutes
|red, white, and blue of our flag.
|Pride and gratitude.

haiku, humor, language, oversimplify, photography

Red-y or Not …

Some short color words are spread thin in common usage.  Words like “red” are pinned on many things that are slightly reddish.  If plant breeders ever develop a cabbage that is actually red, they will find that the name “red cabbage” has been usurped.  Chaos in the produce aisle!  Hope spinach stays green.
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Red ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #187

salad_obrem_y-10_669x208

Salad Paradox
|Red peppers are red.
|Red cabbage is purple but
|is said to be red.
(reblog), haiku, photography

Emptiness Revisited

Empty talk and empty bowls elicit different responses.
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Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #81
Poetry Archive (5) loneliness or emptiness

Choose a haiku, tanka or other form of Japanese poetry from your archive and share it with us all.  Tell us why you have chosen that poem … and create a new poem inspired on your choice.

A short sequence of 3-5-3 haiku dealt with emptiness for a challenge in another series.  I like the way the first haiku sets up the second one, so the whole sequence is my archive choice.  Can I write a new poem for the current challenge?  Yes, and there is a reason to put it before the archive choice.  The new poem is a 5-7-5 haiku:

Not Alone
|Lonely in the crowd
|and weary of empty talk,
|I seek solitude.

cartoon people in the crowd

© Igor Zakowski | 123RF Stock Photo
(Image has been cropped.)

Here and There in 3-5-3

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Emptiness Here
|Empty bowl
|atop microwave,
|just for looks.
Emptiness There
|Empty bowl,
|heavy with nothing.
|Hunger pangs.

I give to several charities that help hungry people in many places with a mix of short-term and long-term efforts.  In particular, my next gift to CARE will be matched 5X.  The matching grant offer on CARE.org/match will expire 2019-05-25.  (A popup on CARE.org has another match that expires sooner, on 04-30.)  If U can give more than whatever U may have already given to charities like CARE this year, now is a good time.

(reblog), haiku, photography

Clams in the Clouds

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The cloud images in this post were in an earlier post (for a photography challenge) that emphasized synergy between pastel pink and green.  Now I am responding to a haiku challenge with emphasis on synergy between poem and image in a modern haiga (with a photo as the image).  Haiku #2 uses the modern kigo abalone.

To those who have not seen many nacreous clouds, the poems’ metaphors might seem far-fetched.  Presenting the photos along with the poems they inspired may reassure readers willing to trust that the photographers refrained from deceptive editing.  I took the calm photo; Sue Ranscht took the dramatic one.

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© Sue Ranscht | Space, Time, and Raspberries

Clams in the Clouds #1
|Serene clouds
|give mother-of-pearl
|to old eyes.
Clams in the Clouds #2
|Molten pewter clouds:
|some are tinted pink or green.
|Abalone shell.

haiku, music, photography

See and Hear the Start of Spring

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As the year pivots from winter to spring, crocus plants bloom and little frogs croak.  We celebrate with a photo and a tanka.

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Wordless Oratorio
|Singing silent songs
|of long warm days returning,
|bee and bloom duet.
|In vernal pools near bare trees,
|spring peepers chant the chorus.
growing old, haiku, photography

Early Spring Snow Shower

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Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Feelings of Spring

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Ground Already Warm
|Falling thru cold air,
|oblivious snow flakes will
|melt on the blacktop.

[2019-03-22]  Bummer.  I want to photograph the inspiration for my haiku, but my old hands cannot go more than a few seconds w/o thick gloves in cold weather.

Hmmm.  Tho unheated, my garage gets some warmth leaking from the furnace.  I put on a pair of thin gloves that can be worn while doing some things that previously required bare hands.  I open the garage door and look outside while standing just inside the garage.  Maybe I can work enough of the camera’s buttons while wearing the thin gloves.

The lens zooms too quickly for fine control.  I cannot move forward or backward to compensate for zooming too far out or in.  Oh well, I can crop the image later to compensate for zooming too far out.  Is there a serviceable view in some direction from where I can stand w/o getting too cold?  Hmmm.  I try five views and go with the last one.

While it does illustrate my haiku, my photo is admittedly not of standalone quality.  I can live with that.  Any partial workaround for growing old is a small triumph to savor.

 

haiku, photography

Beneath the Surface

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Texture

Stack of Textures
|Under the glassy smooth surface,
|roughness grabs the eye.

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While haiku usually have 3 lines, some haiku do have just 2 lines.  For example, Santoka Taneda (1882-1940) wrote a number of 2-line haiku.

After writing my first 2-line haiku, I reworked it to be a 3-line haiku that I preferred.  I posted both and found that a few readers preferred the original 2-line version.

The haiku in this post is my second 2-line haiku, reworked from one with 3 lines.  It is probably safe to say that it will stay at 2 lines, but don’t place a heavy bet.

humor, language, philosophy, photography

Don’t Sweat the Meaning of Life

Your life and mine are not arbitrary symbols used by a third party to communicate with a fourth party.  Don’t let sweating “the meaning of life” interfere with living.
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While pondering “the meaning of food” is rare, pondering “the meaning of life” is common.  Deservedly?  Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

§1: Colors

Meanings are tricky.  Colors provide a simpler way to explore some of the relevant ideas.

§1.1: What Color is the Number Six?

The question heading this subsection is nonsense.  Many different kinds of thing have colors, but numbers don’t.  Making sense is harder than just having sensible-looking syntax.

One of the ways that philosophy made substantial progress in the past century was the realization that some “deep” questions could be as nonsensical as the one heading of this subsection.  Determining which ones are really deep will take a while.  Nonsensical questions may sometimes be failed attempts to pose serious questions that would be more tractable with better wording, so some nonsense may deserve more sympathy than the heading of this subsection.

§1.2: What Color is the US Flag?

Flags do have colors, but the question heading this subsection is still nonsense.  The US flag is red, white, and blue.  While mostly red, the Chinese flag also has some yellow.  How many nations have flags of just one color?

Nobody is silly enough to speak of “the” color of a nation’s flag, but people often do fall into the trap of speaking of “the” thingamajig when there are in fact several relevant thingamajigs.  I posted 4 varied examples (and there are many more).

It does make sense to say that white is the color of the stars in the US flag, that green is the color of the fake foliage in my Xmas wreath, and so on.  But look at the ribbon on my wreath:

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The color I see at any place on the ribbon is intricately context-dependent.  Where is the light coming from?  Where am I standing?  While the solid red ribbons on other wreaths are easier to describe, my iridescent ribbon is prettier to see.

§2: Words

Mole

© tunedin123 | 123RF Stock Photo
(Image has been cropped.)

The word mole has utterly different meanings in chemistry, dermatology, and espionage.  Even if we suppose it makes sense to attribute a meaning to life, pondering “the” meaning of life may still be like pondering “the” color of the US flag, “the” color of an iridescent ribbon, or “the” meaning of mole.

Like mathematical notations (and many hand gestures), words are arbitrary symbols with enough consensus about what they mean to support use in communication.  Who uses life to say what to whom?

I posted 4 imagined responses by an old Yankee to a novice philosopher’s bloviations; one of the responses is

Wehrds need meanings; life don’t.

§3: How to Live

Your life and mine are not arbitrary symbols used by a third party to communicate with a fourth party.  Maybe some concerns about “the meaning of life” are poorly worded concerns about how to live.  Preferring the workable to the grandiose, I go with a simple short list:

  • Try to have some fun.
  • Try to do more good than harm.
  • Don’t sweat “the meaning” of it all.
flowers, haiku, humor, love, philosophy, photography

Gift of Silence

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Words ~ Pic and a Word Challenge

As Susie left home to start a new life with Dale, her mother watched and wondered.  Would the mixed marriage work?

Aware that sharing her worries would be unwelcome and unheeded, Mama let her words of warning remain unspoken and unheard.

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Wisely,  Mama kept silent despite having words to say.  Unwisely, some people run afoul of Wittgenstein’s Laws by breaking silence despite not having any sensible words to say.

Memo to Mystics
|Unless you can grab
|bubbles, you cannot put your
|wisdom into words.

soap-bubbles

haiku, humor, photography

Are U Lookin’ At Me?

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Farm Animals

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No, this cow did not lose an argument with a bucket of white paint.  Belted Galway cattle are bright white in the middle, with either brown or black fore and aft.  The white is usually in a neat band, much like the rust-colored band on a woolly bear caterpillar.  Maybe this cow’s sloppy band comes from too much time in a certain pub.

What the World Needs
|More silliness from
|those who know they are silly;
|less from the others.