This past August was a busy time for our family. The wedding of our son Michael to Melissa was a special celebration and we are still enjoying all the photos posted on a sharing website while we await the professional versions which will no doubt be even more impressive. Digital cameras have certainly made the collection of photographic memories easier for the average amateur photographer. My own wedding photos consisted of a few nicely focused shots of the ceremony and party that followed taken by my brother with a 35 mm camera. For the most part what seems to comprise my self assembled album (from a dollar store) are snapshots from the old Kodak Instamatic flash cameras. One nicely posed family shot was interrupted (and somewhat ruined) by my uncle of prankster fame, who hid behind us and popped up as the camera took the picture. Picture taking was trumped by eating and drinking and what remains are just a few reminders of the day. This might explain why I am happy to spend serious time collecting, arranging and compiling photos of Michael’s wedding for albums, frames and future viewing. It must be a substitute for my own lack of photographic memories. By the way, we have been married for 37 years, with no engagement ring, and a week long honeymoon (?) adventure in a cabin on a lake for $50, spent with our dog Too-Sweet. Not the extravagant, romantic getaway most newly weds enjoy now (or even then.)
Since I have occupied myself in this photo endeavor for quite some time, I have neglected my art production. After the wedding my cousin Joan returned home with me to spend a few days and enjoy some time relaxing in her old stomping grounds. We didn’t over exert ourselves, but did manage to get out and visit some sights renown in this area. One such distinctive location was the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary. Fully equipped with enthusiasm, maps and binoculars, we set out for what was meant to be a leisurely walk on a trail that would return us to the Lab. Somehow we made a few wrong turns along the way and knew we had a problem when we ended up in an apartment complex parking lot. One of the trail reminders mentioned to stay on the trails. We obviously thought we had done that, but still found ourselves no closer to the Sapsucker Woods Pond and the Observation Platform. Eventually our back tracking paid off and we arrived, somewhat warmer than we had been upon departure, to the Pond. Luckily we found a bench and regained our energy and optimism in order to continue in our search for the Lab. We did see one Hairy Woodpecker. I might add at this point that at any given time during the day we could see many types of woodpeckers in our backyard, without ever having to leave the comfort of home!
The walk was good exercise, it gave Joan and I some time to enjoy each other’s company and I did manage to get a few good photographs. The next time I plan an excursion to the sanctuary, it will be earlier in the day and with a tour guide. Trails are open from dawn until dusk. It was late morning and I believe all the birds were napping by then.
As we ventured on our walk on the trail we first encountered a wooden boardwalk that extended for quite a distance into the lush summer greenery. I was particularly taken by the shadows cast upon the walkway. Knowing it would someday provide me with a great painting challenge, I used my trusty camera to record the moment in time. Also knowing that it might be more impressive as a larger watercolor, I abandoned my usual 12 X 16 block for the larger 18 X 24 size. Over a three day period I drew and painted until satisfied that my painting reminded me of the actual visit to Sapsucker Woods. It felt good to return to a creative venture that didn’t involve using the multitude of apples from our tree. Maybe I should paint some of them.