THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

Front Row for 2016

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I can’t believe the holiday weekend is coming to a close. Oh whats that, another one on its heals? Yeah, I can handle that. For we all have a front row seat coming for the New Year. What will each of us make of it? I know I’m going to push myself and get some positive results in both my health and hobbies. I’m going to try to be more generous with both my time and money for people in need. I’m going to try to make this the year I stop sweating the small stuff. I’m going to increase time with family and friends.

Front row seats to the nice weather. Photo by Mike Hartley

Front row seats to the nice weather.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I like this blog because it helps me chart how I’m doing along the year. If I’m positive and happy. If I’m healthy and doing things. If I’m active in my shooting and writing. Those are good things and they will show the increase in activity and growth in skills. So off I go to make the best of the rest of 2015. For there are 4 more days to plan and reflect, and get my behind in gear.

As with any Sunday there are responsibilities. And yesterdays was going to visit my mother in-law at the hospital. That was nice to see her doing better. I know she longs to be back in her Howard County home. And going to Sunday service at St Paul’s. But its going to be some more days of rest and rehab before that happens. I wish I felt better when going to visit her. Today I felt like if I didn’t leave they might just admit me again. Wasn’t one of my better days health wise, but hopefully we are on the verge of turning a corner.

Development out of control:

What upset me the other day was when I noticed the property that runs from Bethany Lane to the Bethany Firehouse along Route 99 had a sold signs on it. Shoot they just cleared the woods across from Mt Hebron to build a new development. The pace of development in this county is unyielding and I feel it’s crossed a tipping point. Yeah its an affluent county. But the roads are already filled. How many more stores and strip malls and burger/pizza joints along with the cars and people do we want?

Early in my life I grew up in the southern part of the county. It was fairly rural. Living the last 3 decades in the northern part of the county it was also country living for the most part. But progress seems to be finding every square inch of this county and clearing and developing it into something.

Oh, I forgot that huge track of land with luxury homes going up off Route 99 just east of where Route 29 meets 99. Between Route 99 and it looks like it stretches out to Route 70 on its northern border. Amazing that nobody seems to be asking the question of when enough is enough? Then again maybe I’m just not involved enough? I don’t know about the rest of the residents here, but I’m tired of sitting in my car in traffic.

Yeah, I’ve been around long enough to know its all about the money. But as a resident I’m not seeing any of it and I’m dealing with the pain in the ass it has become. So maybe I’ll get motivated and add my voice to what must be more than a few others. For I know I went to school with our county executive Alan Kittleman and I’ll threaten to block his deadly set shot in basketball again if he doesn’t listen to me. Just kidding, plus he had a quick release and I’ve probably slowed down since then. But I do know he is a smart individual who might just listen to a good argument. So what the hell, why not get involved at another level. I’ve always voted. Why not let them hear my voice in another way also.

Obligatory cute pet photo:

Where is my milk and what is for dinner? Photo by Mike Hartley

Where is my milk and what is for dinner?
Photo by Mike Hartley

No purpose for this photo except it’s of a pet I miss very much and one that has many good caption opportunities. She was a pistol. She was the love of my daughter. She was a lot of company to me in her final years. I’m so glad my children have their own pets now. I can see the love and happiness they bring each other.

Being my better half and I are not in agreement with a new pet, I think I might start stopping by the animal shelter and dropping a few $$ off, then play and photograph some of the animals there. Might do us both good. Maybe I can find some of them a good home.

I get a lot of enjoyment out of pets but they are a tremendous responsibility. One that seems to very dramatically depending on the owner unfortunately. Yes they are animals and some people go overboard the other way but abuse of anything is wrong.

So here is to all pet owners who take great pride and joy in treating their pets like members of the family and giving them the same love and care any family member gets. I salute you. Just don’t expect answers when you’re talking to them.

Some thoughts on my photography:

By rough count I have posted a bit over 900 images of mine this year, on this blog. I know, quantity doesn’t make up for quality. Well I’m going into 2016 hoping to improve on both. While I was pleased with lots of the images, some were from older shoots. So that tells me to get my behind out the door and shoot more this coming year. A lot more. The only way to improve is with practice and boy do I need it. I’m still learning the tool (Nikon D7100) I got last year.

This year I followed a photographer in Frederick MD who did a site called A Year on Market Street. It has inspired me to get out and try to do a few shots in the county every day. That is one hell of a goal from a physical standpoint alone. But I like the challenge it presents. I thought the county might be a bit small for a project like that. But as I explored the county this year a bit and saw a great number of things to bring to light I realized I could do it for years and not even scratch the surface of it. I thought back to the days I worked with a number of photographers at the Times/Flier newspapers. First Stromberg and then Patuxent Publishing for 21 years. These guys were great shooters. They found new ways and angles and perspectives and treatments to take the same locations and make them look new. They found new ways of capturing life. They were amazing to watch and give me hope I might do something similar.

Variety is the spice of life. I enjoy shooting many things and I feel I tried to expand my abilities this year in several ways. I’ve shot more people, but really need to do more in that area. I enjoy landscapes and architecture. But I’ll try to expand my abilities and diversity in shooting as to not bore myself or followers. I’m trying to find ways to make ordinary things look unique. I’m working on my cropping and angles. I will invest in Lightroom or Photoshop and try not to get lost in those tools because my joy is taking and sharing the images and words.

Speaking of words, I’ve used to many here already so I’ll shut up and go get some more images to go along with all the grey copy.

Have a great day.

Author: Mike Hartley

With a lifetime and a half in the Newspaper industry I'm preparing for my retirement career as an Artist, Writer, Photographer and Video content provider. I'm a proud father of two wonderful children and I'm still married to the first girl I fell in love with and probably only one that would have me.

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