THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


3 Comments

How much

When you hear the words how much, most people think of the monetary cost. Today when I wrote that title I was thinking of how much I can cram into this day. Not a bad thought being there are so many options and opportunities.

It’s not there yet, but the strength is returning to this town.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well at the end of the day I can say I crammed a lot into one day. A mixture of work and enjoyment. After playing yard man we took a trip to the Ellicott City Main Street Music Festival for a few hours. We walked to the city and saw all 3 outdoor stages. The bands sounded pretty good and it was so good to see this city alive again. We had a quick bite to eat in town and then went for a cruise till dark.

The temps were hot, the music was cool.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I’ll make this an annual event to attend in the future. And I hope it continues to be a great success for the city. If the crowds on the street and in the shops and parking lots were any indication it was.

Packed sidewalks bring a smile to my face.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The day was filled with the sounds of classics to modern.

A bit of something for everyone.
Photo by Mike Hartley
I couldn’t believe this was a Honda Shadow. I used to ride one of these for decades.
Photo by Mike Hartley
Behind the Old Howard County TImes building. I always have some great memories of working in this town.
Photo by Mike Hartley
Next to the Wine Bin. What would you expect? A crowd?

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I was very glad to see the youth of the world concerned and making their presence felt by voicing global climate issues/effects. Maybe they can inspire some adults.
  • Weather-wise it was a good week to be off of work.
  • I need to work on my patience.
  • Do you believe the nonsense and all the wasted time with that Storm Area 51 crap? Proof that a dumb ass idea or thought can go way too far.


2 Comments

Saturday stroll

Walked one of my favorite towns with a great friend today. Well, actually I walked Ellicott City before he got there and then we walked Oella. I felt good but put on an extra mile or two that my feet could have lived without. But surprisingly everything else felt great after the hike.

Buzzing along this Day
Photo by Mike Hartley
Sun on the right spot.
Photo by Mike Hartley

There are few things that I love more than summer mornings with temps in the 60’s and 70’s with a nice breeze to make life special.

Blue skies are a nice touch also and add a little red white and blue and we are cooking with juice.

I should thank my better half for allowing me a few hours to photograph and chat with a very old friend. It was a great conversation as it always is and one I hope to make more frequent. It’s good to get out and he is an avid walker. I hope I don’t hold him back to much. Maybe some more practice and I’ll be able to hold a better pace. I think I’ll get out on Sunday morning as well.

I do love old stone buildings. And this town has a few.

Beautiful Buildings in front of Lot B.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This structure above was our first office when we launched our own weekly newspaper. I enjoyed the short commute and being back in Ellicott City where I started my newspaper career. I believe its a legal and title group now that occupies it.

Always a hard-working town.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Ellicott City seems to be an example of what small business strength is all about. The risk of doing business in this town that’s been flooded a few times. The reliance of getting people out of big box stores and down to a neighborhood shop. The hard work and limited space they all deal with.

Classic car rolling through a classic town.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I could sit and watch the classic cars and bikes tool through town. I can walk and be greeted by total strangers and wished a good morning with almost every passing person. I can lean over the bridge and watch the families of ducks. You can see store windows done with style and thought.

View from the sidewalk.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You can peer into spaces between homes and businesses and see wonderful garden treats. You can find many talented artists inside stores and out on the streets.

Some artist getting some practice in.
Photo by Mike Hartley
Working on the view of the street below.
Photo by Mike Hartley

At least I got out this day and worked at a craft I love. Sometimes I feel selfish about taking photos and working on this blog. But in a lot of ways, it makes me very happy and hopefully will continue to give me enjoyment in my senior years. And who knows, maybe others will find things they like.

Shady streets
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Balance out thinking and doing then smile about the accomplishments.
  • I love getting pictures of my granddaughter on days I can’t be with her.
  • It seems the more I photograph and write the less time I have to read.
  • Having conversations about what we can do to improve this country is something all of us should be doing each day. Who knows, there might be a winning idea someplace.
  • My walking partner today was like a treadmill that had the incline set at the moutain level.


Leave a comment

Be ready to pivot

Had to alter plans today. It’s always good to be ready to pivot. Don’t let a set schedule imply inflexibility. Everything is flexible. Well most everything. I’m finding the more flexible that I am, the happier I am. So today I adjusted plans a few times. Yeah I got less done than I hoped for but Sunday is a day of rest isn’t it?

Be ready to pivot.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Was just playing around shooting a few frames of my tripods and I might not get out to shoot that beautiful moon this evening so these will have to do for the day’s post. Maybe I’ll get the chance to shoot some in the morning.

But have a firm base to pivot from.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Just finished watching football. I’m not encouraged to even watch the Super Bowl this year. But I’ll probably pivot from that decision also.

Swivel when you can.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Random Thoughts of the Day

Life is a hell of a lot easier when you know some people love you.

I wish I could find the perfect gift for my better half each day.

If you want to know what cold is. There is a good example right outside your front door.

Today is a good day for layers.

Hope everyone has a good holiday. And to those of us who work holidays. Have the best day possible.


Leave a comment

Stormy Saturday – rise before the rain

Stormy Saturday – Well the forecast says so. But for me being out and about early in the day I’ve gotten a few shots and stayed dry. When I saw the possibility of 2-4 inches of rain I thought oh crap. They just opened Main Street. I wanted to ride down there anyway to just walk and maybe catch some early morning activity.

The sun struggled to come up this morning and did its best to fight through the clouds but it was a losing cause. But cruising with the top down is nice regardless. I stopped at the Snowball stand and the Howard County Conservancy for a shot or two.

Sunrise this morning in Woodstock MD.
Photo by MIke Hartley

Howard County Conservancy
Photo by Mike Hartley

As I headed to old Ellicott City for a morning stroll I discovered there was someone more tired than I was who planted this sign upside down at the entrance to Town and Country apartments. I wonder if they still call them Town and Country. Well that’s what they were several decades ago when some friends lived there.

Someones world is upside down this morning.
Photo by Mike Hartley

In the time it took to drive from Woodstock to EC the sun had vanished behind clouds. As I enter a town with my first drive down main street in months the flashing caution lights with the dark clouds were not a combination I was hoping for.

Not the skyline this city needs.
Photo by Mike Hartley

As I expected I found beauty and destruction. But more progress than I though possible actually. One of the things I’ve always liked about this town is the wildlife it has. No not the people. You can step out and look at a stream and see ducks, fish, blue heron and the occasional snake, fox or deer depending on the time of day you’re in town.

An early morning fisherman just under the bridge. These are some big birds. 
Photo by MIke Hartley

There was an awful lot of this also.

This sign isn’t really needed. The town is evidence enough.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wonder how many of these have come and gone.

I can’t imagine the pain of losing your work.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We liked eating here. So if your hungry or thirsty next weekend on the 28th, think about attending the EC Strong Festival.

Think about supporting the EC Strong Festival.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Help raise these in people.

Disasters seem to happen every day. Help raise someones.
Photo by MIke Hartley

And give them.

Photo by Mike Hartley

And live by.

Words to live by.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Even in a town hit hard, there is beauty to be found.


Random Thoughts of the Day

I need to get to the range. You never know when that practice will come in handy.

Did something change with the crust at Ledo pizza? The last two I’ve had have been thicker and rather doughy. That thin and crispy is what I like. And I’ve seen this from two different shops.

Rain = Sleep


Leave a comment

1pm Veterans Day parade in EC

Veterans Day parade in Ellicott City today at 1pm. Didn’t know till I drove down to take some early morning shots and saw the people setting up and banners. Wish I could get back down for it but some chores await me. Did get a lot of other shots which I’ll share later. Felt great taking a walk through the town. I need that kind of exercise every morning. And only one person is going to make that happen so I’ve got to find a mirror to keep me accountable.

Even though it’s a bit cool the town was hoping 4 hours before the parade. I love this town, I parked behind my old Newspaper building. Well the first one that I worked at in EC which was Stromberg Publications or as people know it “the Times Papers.” Lots of good memories there before Patuxent purchased it and moved to Columbia. But even better memories were made there so no complaints. But if given the choice of towns to work in, I’d pick EC.


Leave a comment

Saturday signals

What a great day. Grand dog is visiting and getting a few chores done. Relaxing is one of them and that is going fairly well. Grabbed a shot below at the Pink Cabbage yesterday after a bite to eat next door. It reminded me of this weekend, a little caution on either side and full speed ahead in the middle. I was going to try to get up to the Fairgrounds but that is looking iffy. Probably just make a donation and skip the relay part.

Pick a bucket and roll with it.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m very glad we finally stopped by the Town Grill at Foster Country Store on Rt 144 and Triadelphia road. I think I’ll give it a shot for breakfast this week. I’ve been looking for a new place to stop in the morning. But anyway lunch was great and I love the service and small feel of the place. Plus is prompts me to take a ride down Triadelphia road, which is a nice cruise.

Yep and its good.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I love the back roads of Howard County. But its troubling to see every space continued to be filled. Speaking of that we went past Wallace Park the other day and lo and behold that beautiful field on the left that seemed to go on forever is being developed it appears. When will it stop? Anyway I’ll let you know how breakfast is here soon.

Town Grill
Photo by Mike Hartley


I’m counting on a day that the body is all on the same page.

Pushing myself to learn more than I did today, and each day.

Can you smell what Mother Nature is Cooking?

Thoughts to those who just need a positive one.

And that’s all she wrote for this post. Whoops, I guess that should technically read “That’s all he wrote for this post.”


Leave a comment

Monday flashback

Ah the simple days of working on Main Street. Started in 1976 near the top of the hill at Stromberg Publishing (aka The Times papers).  Started dating my better half who lived up the road during those early years. Fell into a career I had no idea I was interested in. And now 41 years later it is decision that I’m glad I stuck with.

Mr Yates was a fine merchant. I patronized him often.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But I do miss working so close to home and in such a town that felt like family. Well lots of them were family at Stromberg. Hell if there were a policy on nepotism then over half the company would have been let go. But even if you weren’t blood family, you we’re part of the company family. I’m sorry that so many young people miss out on that feeling now.

I miss the nickel Popsicle’s from Mr. Yates store. I miss the feel of that small town. Especially being I commute to a large town (DC). And the company I work for doesn’t feel like family anymore. Then again that’s not a knock at it, most companies don’t have that feel. All I know is I miss the close relationships I once had at work.


I got to see my daughter on her birthday. Took her some flowers and a balloon. She is so precious. I’m so glad my children settled fairly close to home so I can still do these things.


Well, didn’t get a chance to shoot today but hope to this fine Tuesday that is almost upon us.


Leave a comment

Take a minute

Wow, adding that 10 hour work day at the job that pays the bills back into the schedule really crimps my free time. Such is life. I did take a minute today to grab a frame at the Howard County Conservancy. And another from the entrance of the Conservancy looking up to Woodstock and the famous Snowball Stand.

 Howard County Conservancy Photo by Mike Hartley

Howard County Conservancy
Photo by Mike Hartley

Yep the stand is close for the winter. But we made it through January and I think we’re at least half way to spring so I’m starting to think about what flavor my first snowball of the season will be.

Looking up Rt 99 and Woodstock Road.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking up Rt 99 and Woodstock Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But I also took a minute to look at the sky today. Something I used to have time to do and enjoy as a youth often. Not so much now and I miss it. And I think I figured out why. You see as I’ve aged I’ve watched the generation before me age. And men seem to go through this morphing at a certain age.

All your life your standing at 90 degrees. At 50 you feel the sudden inertia behind you pushing you forward, sort of like a stiff wind at your back trying to fold you in half. At 60 you’re slouching forward at a 80 degree acute angle at least half the time and you didn’t even notice it till you see a photo. Yeah your neck still works fine and you can see the sky.

At 70 years of age your listing forward at 60 degree angle and even if your neck is still fully functional your only able to see about a 1/3 of the sky. Your starting to see more ceiling fan in the bathroom than clouds.

At 80 years of age you’re at a 45 degree angle forward and basically looking at the pavement and shoes. If someone speaks and you get your neck to move upwards you may be able to make eye contact but seeing their hairstyle is probably out of the question. That is why old men are always in trouble, their wives go to the salon and expect them to notice the new dew. Well they always miss it because they can’t see it.

At 90 you’re so bent over you’re looking at your own behind. The sky is a reflection in a puddle. That is why I don’t take puddle reflection photos now. I figure I’ll have time to do it when I’m older.

At 100 you’re going back to your youth. They have scooted your bed out to the porch so you can stare at the sky all day and night. Well I can dream of living to 100 years old.


  • Boy, you blink after the New Years Party and its the end of the month.
  • My barbershop raised their price by a $1. Now I’m going to have to ask for a raise or become a hippie again.
  • Do you think its wrong to (fill in the blank). Never mind, I don’t want to add to the political discourse today.
  • I know I should give up drinking Cokes. But the label almost matches the color of my car and I love sugar.
  • Take a deep breath. Now repeat. Add exhales as needed.


Leave a comment

A New Years eve dinner

What a great evening last night. A fun time and dinner with a couple of our best friends. But I have to comment on a business that closed its doors last night in Howard County. I’ve always liked their entrance. It says “Love, Laughter and Friends. Always Welcome Here.” So it’s with a heavy heart that I see another HoCo business close. Baltimore Sun article about it here.

This establishment, Luna Bella is no more. It’s located very close to one of my best friends homes and its a restaurant we have patronized for some time. Both dine in and carry out. Great food and great service, gone from the community.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

It was wonderful hearing the stories of the staff and owners last night. Some real good people. We and many others were there to wish them well in the future.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

The sign says Welcome Sit, Relax and Enjoy. And we did “sit, relax and enjoy” many a night.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

And while there were many tears of joy, there was also a sadness.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley


Leave a comment

Goodbye growing season

Almost time for that dormant winter season. Not that I’m any expert on growing anything but given the season in the northeast its pretty much planning for next year I’m guessing. Of course these guys could really answer all those and more questions at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Central Maryland Research Branch along Folly Quarter Road.

Along Folly Quarter Rd. Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Folly Quarter Rd.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I love traveling that road. Well the bike riders who like it complicate it at times and people not paying attention but its a much better ride than Route 29 if you got the time and want to see some country. This U of MD site along that road is well maintained and I’m always looking at what they are growing and how well it’s doing.

But this looks like the final cutting of the year so I’ll just look forward to spring and the coming of the Green Again. In the mean time I had better get out and try to capture some of the fall colors. Were going to be subjected to that grey of winter all too soon.


2 Comments

Sweet Saturday Mornings

Nothing like getting up early and quick walk. Also got a haircut which always makes me feel better. Saw this scene on the way home from that task. It seems like the winds have taken a lot of the color away here in central Maryland. I’ll have to see if I can still find some later. Been marveling at all the wonderful images that other photos that I follow have caught. Some amazing shots of fall.

Pond along Rt 99 near Waverly. Photo by Mike Hartley

Pond along Rt 99 near Waverly.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m really going to start pushing myself this coming year to work on my many crafts and finally get proficient with the tools, learning to edit both words and images better, and put some design into this blog. I still waste too much time on unimportant things. And while I’d love to invest the time and money into Photoshop, I think I’ll first get better at composing and capturing the best images I can. Plus I enjoy getting out more behind the camera than I do sitting at my desk.

A beautiful morning in Howard County. But aren't they all? Photo by Mike Hartley

A beautiful morning in Howard County. But aren’t they all?
Photo by Mike Hartley

I also find that if I’m happy with a days shooting the words and stories come more easily because the images usually inspire some kind of drivel from me for good or bad. Hoping I can get out and shoot some more between the days task and do a few post.


Leave a comment

Someday again

Found a few shots of Ellicott City from this year before the flood that I hadn’t posted yet. Longing for the days the town returns to the unique visit it was. Special restaurants, shops businesses and residents. My home away from home. Where I started my career in the newspaper business. Where my wife grew up. Where I got married. Where I returned to as a partner/publisher on our own newspaper. Where I go for a good walk. Where I go to photograph. Where I go to eat.

A fixture of Main Street. Took this in early July. Photo by Mike Hartley

A fixture of Main Street. Took this in early July.
Photo by Mike Hartley

One of my favorite intersections in town.

Its green and the town is trying to get going. Photo by Mike Hartley

Its green and the town is trying to get going. I shot this photo the morning of the flood. 
Photo by Mike Hartley

Store front window.

Store Window. I'm sure the contents were gone shortly after this was shot. Photo by Mike Hartley

Store Window. I’m sure the contents were gone shortly after this was shot.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess the clouds were a sign of things to come.

Clouds over EC in late June. Photo by Mike Hartley

Clouds over EC in late June.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I see slow signs of life. I heard Tersiguels is opening this week again. Best of luck to them in helping the town recover.

Tersiguels is open again. Old Photo by Mike Hartley

Tersiguels is open again.
Old Photo by Mike Hartley


Leave a comment

Time to pump it up

What a beautiful day for mid October here in the northeast U.S. Spent a few hours cruising northern Howard County and then a walk around Ellicott City. Felt great to get some exercise and feel that warmth of the sun. I’m both excited to see so much is done in such a short time. It really is amazing. But I’m disheartened with distance so far to go for many owners and businesses. This one was a sea change for our town. I’m going to try to do my part to help it return to glory again.

Hand pump. Photo by Mike Hartley

Hand pump.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Saw this barn off Rt 144 just past Lisbon I believe. I bet this is interesting in the morning sunlight also. I’ll have to stop back and see.

Barn through trees. Photo by Mike Hartley

Barn through trees.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I miss the days of endless farms throughout the county. Yes its still a beautiful area but already over developed in most part of the county now. I guess it’s the price for having such a good area and services. No wonder everyone wants to move here.

Barn off Rt 144 by Lisbon. Photo by Mike Hartley

Barn off Rt 144 by Lisbon.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wish I had taken my time today. Rushed a lot of images and didn’t like most of what I shot today. Such is life. Sometimes those are the ones that are most popular though. So what the hell. I get a few of EC up tomorrow at the latest.

Barn and Silo Photo by Mike Hartley

Barn and Silo
Photo by Mike Hartley

Anyway, it’s to beautiful outside to sit in front of the laptop. I’m headed back outside for a few minutes.

Color changes are starting here. Photo by Mike Hartley

Color changes are starting here.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Have a great day all.


Leave a comment

A lap around the lake

Just a few shots from a walk around Lake Elkhorn in Columbia.

 


Leave a comment

Outside

Nothing like getting outside and taking a walk. Did it today and hope to do it tomorrow. Of course the Saturday walk won’t be with my better half which won’t make it as fun but I’ll power through. Did the loop around Lake Kittamaqundi and captured a few shots. Should have done many more miles, but wasn’t feeling 100% today and it was a lot hotter than I anticipated.

Dragonfly or bi wing plane? Photo by Mike Hartley

Dragonfly or bi wing plane?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Didn’t see all the wildlife I was hoping for but there was still a few guys out there.

Showing off in the mirror. Photo by Mike Hartley

Showing off in the mirror.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And some color.

No fall color here. Photo by Mike Hartley

No fall color here.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Some were doing a quiet read during lunch.

A good book on a nice day on patio of Whole Foods building. Photo by Mike Hartley

A good book on a nice day on patio of Whole Foods building.
Photo by Mike Hartley

An iconic fountain. This town was voted #1 Best Place to live in 2016 by Money Magazine.

Town Center fountain. Photo by Mike Hartley

Town Center fountain.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Don’t worry, I’ll go for a walk in a few places on Saturday so not to bore you all with the same area.

Water Photo by Mike Hartley

Water
Photo by Mike Hartley


Leave a comment

Thinking ahead

So cooler temps are on the way. I’m just hoping the sun makes an appearance for most of the weekend. I feel like getting out and walking a few miles for the exercise each day and to see what I can find in my viewfinder. Lots of plans and a short time to do them in but, whats new there.

Shot from old Woodstock Post office. Photo by Mike Hartley

Shot from old Woodstock Post office.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But those storms last night are not encouraging. Good thing they were fast movers. Speaking of fast movers, I saw an old Cobra while cruising last Sunday morning. Those are nice cars, never driven one but with that small weight and monster power plant its got to be entertaining.

Cobra on Old Frederick Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Cobra on Frederick Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, here is hoping I can come up with some entertaining work in the next few days. I’ve gotten a bit sloppy lately. My goal in August was to post every day. Well I missed 4 which was better than the 5 I missed in July but what the hell, its improvement. As far as the quality well that is always a subjective thing, but I’m going to try to make a marked improvement in that area also.

But its time to set my goals a bit higher. Maybe 2 post a day and each with its own sections. Sort of like a morning/evening edition. Its project time and I hope to kick off September with my review of BBQ in the area. I’ll be starting a series of the Eastern shore of Maryland. I’d like to take a few days at Arlington National Cemetery this month also. Mom’s birthday is coming up so I have to take her some flowers to her and Dad. I’m also going to try my hand at some more night shooting. I was video taping some lightening last night and might try my hand at more video work. I do have to learn the editing part more. Got a million other ideas and thoughts so I better get to work.

  • randomthoughtsYou know if I retire at 65 I only have a bit over 1500 days of work left. When I look at it that way, it evokes a smile.
  • Why do I waste time listening to a 5 or 7 day forecast when the batting average of the forecast even 24 hours out is shaky.
  • You got to love happy hours. No matter where they are or who you’re with.
  • Attitude is everything. And mine is improving so there is room for hope.


Leave a comment

Riding with the Heroes

Was lucky to catch the Motorcycle ride pulling out onto Rt 99 heading towards Rt 32 this morning in Howard County. I got on a hill by Marriots Ridge school and shot the procession. The Riding with the Heroes run Sponsored by Howard County Police and Howard County Fire and Rescue. This was the 2nd one and it looked like a success to me and the route it takes is something I’m going to try in the car soon. Of course with the Top Down.

The head of the line. Howard County Officers. Photo by Mike Hartley

The head of the line. Howard County Officers.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Here’s hoping it was a safe ride for everyone.

Hand signals. Long time no use. Photo by Mike Hartley

Hand signals. Long time no use.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Didn’t get a count but it looked like a few hundred bikers were part of it.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

Next time I’ll do a quick video.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

For pictures don’t incorporate the sound you need.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

2 wheels, 3 wheels, it’s all good.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

The flag was proudly displayed on several bikes.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

From what I could see just about every brand of bike was represented.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

And what a beautiful day for a ride.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

Some days I still miss riding. But I’ll take my convertible now and be happy.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley

For my vehicle is still a two seater, just like a bike.

Ride for Heroes Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride for Heroes
Photo by Mike Hartley


Leave a comment

A good reason to rise early

Nothing like early mornings. Then again I seem to love every part of the day and night. Doesn’t bode well for my sleep patterns but I do get a lot of perspectives. Sometimes the morning air is so clear and crisp. This time of year is great to enjoy our outdoors. And with the National Park Service celebrating their 100th year it is another good reminder to go see a lot of what makes this country great.

A peaceful morning at Rocky George  Photo by Mike Hartley

A peaceful morning at Rocky George
Photo by Mike Hartley


2 Comments

A lazy morning

Did some shooting this morning. Actually did more driving than shooting. Which was fine because it was a beautiful morning indeed. And being the driving wasn’t towards any city of any size like it normally is, the roads I chose were great and scenes were very nice. Sometimes as I’m driving looking for new shooting spots, I find myself enjoying the view too much and forgetting to stop and shoot it. Such was the case this morning after I caught myself saying I should have stopped there and grabbed a few frames for the 5th time.

Window at the Pink Cabbage store on Route 144. Photo by Mike Hartley

Window at the Pink Cabbage store on Route 144.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But that is the good thing about shooting locally. You can go back and back with ease. And each time you do you see something different or new if you got your eyes open. That is a gift I think I’ve gotten back from trying my hand at photography. I stop and pause to look at things a bit more. Composition, color, contrast, texture, angles, feelings and all kind of things.

Mom is yelling at me from above because I don't know what this flower is. Photo by Mike Hartley

Mom is yelling at me from above because I don’t know what this flower is.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I’ll have to go back out and take another stab at some shots today while we have sun because Sunday looks like it might not be so good. Plus time gets tight after this evening anyway.

The Pink Cabbage along Route 144. Photo by Mike Hartley

The Pink Cabbage along Route 144.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So don’t forget to add a little water to your system today because it’s still going to be a hot one. Be safe, have fun, enjoy the weekend.

Watering can Photo by Mike Hartley

Watering can
Photo by Mike Hartley


Leave a comment

Found a gem

Found this photo below of Main Street Ellicott City from Saturday morning 7/30 before the flood that evening and thought it was a good thing to look at and hope for the future of this wonderful place. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in this town. From working there a few years at 2 newspapers to eating, shopping and just walking in. And thankfully many wonderful photo ops along the journey. My wife and family lived right up the street. We got married in this town.

I’m going to miss this landmark for a while I believe. I’ll miss the people and meals and exercise and great images it provides. Not the ones I’ve seen first hand and shared recently after the flood, but ones that show the great town it is.

Its funny, I had no idea that this image would be the last I took of the town before this disaster. To have snapped it that morning is special to me. I never get tired of trying to capture a new angle on this place. And while this image Saturday morning wasn’t anything special, it reminds me how each moment is special in life. And how any minute it can change in a flash. So here’s to rebuilding this wonderful small town of America.

Saturday morning 7/30/2016. I was just returning from a ride down New Cut Road and had just made the turn next to the Phonenix Resturant onto Main Street. Had the top down so just held up the old Kodak and snapped this. Photo by Mike Hartley

Saturday morning 7/30/2016. I was just returning from a ride down New Cut Road and had just made the turn next to the Phoenix Restaurant onto Main Street. Had the top down so just held up the old Kodak and snapped this.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Leave a comment

Limited access but a few good frames

Went down to Ellicott City this morning and police had just about every angle blocked off but I did manage to wander around and snap some 80 images of flood damage. Nothing much downtown Main street except for a few shots from Church Street. I heard they were doing a press walk through and I probably could have faked my way into that but decided to hike up the street a bit where the cameras weren’t but there was still damage.

No support here.  Photo by Mike Hartley

No support here.
Photo by Mike Hartley

If you can help these people they are certainly full of appreciation. Found this link for Preservation Maryland to help Ellicott City.


Leave a comment

Wishing a quick recovery

Found this wishing well washed into the street last night with the flood waters. Thought it was a fitting image for the town as it try’s to recover this sunny Sunday morning.

Wishing Well washed into middle of the street.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Wishing Well washed into middle of the street.
Photo by Mike Hartley

A view I didn’t think I’d see.

No Services this Sunday in Ellicott City.  Photo by Mike Hartley

No Services this Sunday in Ellicott City.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wasn’t a nice sunrise in town today. And this huge trench that started in front of the old Post office, wiped out the alley between Yate’s old store and got deeper as you went down the street.

Excuse me, but whom took the sidewalk? Photo by Mike Hartley

Excuse me, but whom took the sidewalk?
Photo by Mike Hartley

 


Leave a comment

And another loss

With all that rain many trees are down in the area. Unfortunately one nice one along Bethany lane was down this morning. I heard it was a county protected tree over 100 years old.


2 Comments

Reflecting on Ellicott City

As I walked around town taking flood pictures this morning I was able to capture this reflection in a window of the old firehouse top and it made me think about all the good images I have of Ellicott City in both my mind and on film. A good friend said this could be worse than Agnes in the early 70’s. So I’m going to start this day with a nice image of the town because what little I saw broke my heart.

Reflection of Old Firehouse top.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Reflection of Old Firehouse top.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Then the people I talked to, broke my heart. I’ll have to keep a good track of Ho.Co. Blogs and get down there to see who needs help. And the question is again, Will EC triumph over Mother Nature?

Flooded motorcycle. Photo by Mike Hartley

Flooded motorcycle.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ll post some more images later this morning and a link to the full set also once I upload them.


Leave a comment

Wheel me up Scotty

Just a random shot down in Ellicott City this morning. Clouds made the morning less than optimal but it was nice to be out tooling around the county. Took a drive down College Avenue and I couldn’t believe how much it had built up. Every time I take a trip down a road I traveled long ago all I see is new development. Well, that at least answers the question of “where did all these people come from?”

Cart in Courtyard Photo by Mike Hartley

Cart in Courtyard
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m still getting used to this new lens. I love it but I really need to get that tripod. Think I’ll look for one this coming week. Need that for sharpness.

One of my favorite corners. Photo by Mike Hartley

One of my favorite corners.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Still hoping for the sun to break through sometime today, but it’s looking doubtful. I need to practice my indoor shooting anyway.

Home along College Avenue.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Home along College Avenue.
Photo by Mike Hartley

 

  • randomthoughtsThe more I get out and shoot, the more I want to get out and shoot. Pictures that is. In today’s world that is worth clarifying.
  • My new goal is to shoot 100 frames a day. Easier said than done.
  • Being older it is still hard to click away with total abandon. When you have shot so much film, you trigger finger is still conservative.
  • My wife better get home soon. Were almost out of Coke. And we all know that this guy does not shop.
  • Today is a gambling day. I’ll let you know the results Sunday morning.
  • I like creating things that make people pause. Once I master that trick, I’m going to repeat it.


Leave a comment

Morning sunning

Found this boy floating just under the surface at Scott’s Cove. Well he did poke his head through the surface when I snapped. While he looks small he’s actually at least a foot and a half. He was out in the middle of the reservoir and I used all the zoom I had 300mm without a tripod. I’m going to spend some time down in this area trying to capture a bit more nature.

Turtle floating in Scotts Cove. Photo by Mike Hartley

Turtle floating in Scotts Cove.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m also going to have to set up and watch some fisherman and see if I can capture that moment of action. Now that can take patience and I’m hope I’m capable of that. It’s not one of my best traits. Like the shot below. I saw the guy drop off his boat and I didn’t even wait for him to come back and paddle out.

For those about to FISH. We salute YOU. Photo by Mike Hartley

For those about to FISH. We salute YOU.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I do hate taking my car down there because paved parking does not exist there. It’s the land of pickemup trucks and large SUV’s. But I will power through that restriction and still venture there.

Pickup City Photo by Mike Hartley

Pickup City
Photo by Mike Hartley

I like going here in the mornings. It smells so fresh. And that quiet is very calming. The shutter seems so much louder here.

Breakfast time. Photo by Mike Hartley

Breakfast time.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, enough for this post. I got to get shooting again and the heat is building already. Here’s to another great day. Because my Monday was a great starter day with family.


Leave a comment

Smoking Saturday

Got together with some friends and started the day off with laughter. What a great way to begin the day. A warm one out there and I got a bit too much sun with the top down. Combined with yesterdays ride I’m toast. But its good to be out and about. For I think back about a year ago and I wasn’t doing anything or going anywhere. I was just thankful to be out of the hospital.

This weekend at the Fairgrounds. Photo by Mike Hartley

This weekend at the Fairgrounds.
Photo by Mike Hartley

That is one of the things I try to think of when I start feeling down because of the small stuff. How good it felt to walk out of UMMC and get in that car and go down Russell street to go HOME.

I got so busy this afternoon I didn’t get out to see if they are serving jerk chicken at the Fairgrounds for the Jamaican Fest. And just a reminder about the upcoming county fair in August. I hope the family will want to go together again. So many fond memories of the fair. Both working at it for the Howard County Times papers with great friends and attending with family and friends.

Its nothing special, just a county fair like a gazillion others. They always have done a nice job on improving it every year. I’m really going to try to get up there and get some good shots this year. One eventual goal is to go every day and try to put together a project of it but that is grandiose thinking for sure.

Not so big. Photo by Mike Hartley

Not so big.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So its off to get some more images this evening. First a plan. Nah, not my normal operating mode. I’m more a go out and see what strikes me. But if I’m going to be effective, I have to start planning and putting more complete works up.

That goes for both my writing and photography. So I’m going to begin with making the post more organized by section so with all the different things I might ramble on about can at least catch some of the people who might not be interested in my whole rant but might like a food review or my random thoughts.

Also going to try to enhance the design a bit. Maybe start to incorporate some graphics to break up the grey and photos. Hell I’ve worked for hundreds of designers over the years so I should have picked up a few things. But I have a tendency to go overboard when simpler is better. That is why I picked this simple theme.

I know one goal of posting each day is becoming reality. Like that little train to my left. Just need to keep up the pace and prepare some things in advance to post when I’m busy. I’m discovering there is a lot of time needed in creating good content. Well at least it is for me. And obviously by the lack of that here, you can see time is sparse to say the least. But I’m working at it more and loving it more.

And thankfully the more time I get to work on it the more I think of to do. That is a blessing I guess because at times before starting this I thought I’d have enough to write about for maybe two days.


  • randomthoughtsIt’s Saturday July 16th 2016.
  • Is this the day the world takes a turn for the better?
  • I’m dog sitting this week. You know I don’t think that is a very good term for it because I seem to do a lot less sitting when I’m watching pets.
  • Animals can show unconditional love in their eyes much better than humans.
  • I don’t know why my friends call me the Meteor when I play golf. Must be the way I drive the ball through the sky.
  • I’m looking much younger in some photos than I once did.
  • Yes I’m going to read a manual. Really.


Leave a comment

What is transported through your back yard

Exactly one mile down the road is a rail line that is used fairly often. I’m sure there are some dangerous cars in the middle of some of those trains. It’s funny as you grow older your thoughts change. The only things I thought of when I saw trains when I was younger were marveling at the sheer size and sounds from the engines. The graffiti on the cars. The cargo and how many cars were on that train.

Train getting ready to cross Woodstock Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Train getting ready to cross Woodstock Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

Now I think about safety or terrorism and our rail system. Or how many cars contain oil or other toxic or explosive or both are going by us each day. I might have to go do some recording and research on that just for my own curiosity.

I need to get back to that kid mentality. Life is a lot more fun that way. Think I’ll walk the train path and try some photos along that beautiful stretch of land in northern Howard County. I also need to get to some areas down by where I grew up in the southern part of the county.

I hear Savage has grown. Been a long time in visiting that neck of the county. Also Rocky Gorge.

Actually that is an excuse to get some exercise which I need. I’ve been getting lazy again and its time for a change. Another incentive is one of my brothers slimming down to the point where % of body fat might be swinging my direction. Of course we still have one friend who I think owns that title of most out of shape.

So out I will go early this weekend each day for some exercise and shooting. Sounds like a good plan.

And speaking of behaving and thinking like a kid. It was a great day tooling around with the top down on the car. Yeah a little hot but what the hell. I love summer and sunshine. Drove out to the Lisbon/Woodbine area and some of those back roads.

Some roads in HC I still like. Photo by Mike Hartley

Some roads in HC I still like.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Closer to home I did see a personal statement about the coming development along Bethany and 99. I didn’t do it myself but I do agree with the sentiment.

Sending another sign. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sending another sign.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Think I’ll make this my reward after some train track walks. A snack at the Inn.

Two Iron Horses. Photo by Mike Hartley

Two Iron Horses.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Saw this sitting at the corner of 32 and 99 this afternoon.  Hoping all survived.

I'd guess this is totaled. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’d guess this is totaled.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Had some sweet corn last night. Another reason I love summer.

Another week or two. Photo by Mike Hartley

Another week or two.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Leave a comment

Hay Bail me out

You can always go back to the farm to get bailed out. This was up by the fairgrounds which will be buzzing with the annual fair in another month. Can’t wait to shoot that event this year.  Also noticed while I was out riding around that a lot of that storm damages remains.

Ducks in a row. Photo by Mike Hartley

Ducks in a row.
Photo by Mike Hartley

OK, one last flower shot before my lens turns elsewhere.

Lilly Photo by Mike Hartley

Lilly
Photo by Mike Hartley

Along route 99. This is going to either affect those lines or fall on a car.

Still waiting for a trim. Photo by Mike Hartley

Still waiting for a trim.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Please don't fall into traffic. Photo by Mike Hartley

Please don’t fall into traffic.
Photo by Mike Hartley


1 Comment

Bee all you can be

A warm one out there yesterday afternoon. I love it though and so did this bee. And the line at Rita’s confirms the temps in the 80’s. This has and always will be my favorite season. I can lay in my hammock, not wear shoes and a host of other benefits. Just the sun on my skin feels to energize me. So as I see the coming up this morning I think I’ll head outside.

Dinner bell Photo by Mike Hartley

Dinner bell
Photo by Mike Hartley

Rita's at corner of St Johns and Frederick Rd. Photo by Mike Hartley

Rita’s at corner of St Johns and Frederick Rd.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I should have purchased a Rita’s franchise long ago. Those things seem to be a hit but are seasonal. They need to find something to sell during the winter months though.

Yesterday I was so inspired but the body and mind had nothing left after chores. Yes I did get out for a few minutes of shooting but nothing substantial. I hope today is better but it already looks pretty full. So I think I’ll run out this morning and grab a few frames before a 10am appointment.

You know holiday weekends just aren’t as important when you work them. But such is life. At least I’ll know I’ll appreciate them more when I retire someday. The first one or two that you work and get that double time pay its nice but I can tell you it’s not worth it at all.

EC Sky Photo by Mike Hartley

EC Sky
Photo by Mike Hartley

I see we had another power outage last night. Come on BG&E, it didn’t even storm last night. I don’t know what it is about this area but they have a hell of a time with their uptime.


Random Thoughts for Friday morning July 1st 2016

  • How do you want to be remembered? Well start living like that.
  • I need balance. Its life and its excesses that keep getting in the way.
  • There is a time to shoot and there is a time to observe.
  • Half the year down. Where does the time go?
  • What if Donald Trump wins?


Leave a comment

Doing your own thing

Despite common sense and signs (right above the riders head) saying  “WALK your bicycles, skateboards and play vehicles on SIDEWALK” this guy is starting to ride up the winding, narrow street at 2mph blocking the normal flow of traffic. I have nothing against riding a bike in this area. It is full of wonderful places and streets to ride. But we need to work together and this isn’t it.

Don't become a hood ornament riding in places that aren't meant for bikes and cars together.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Don’t become a hood ornament riding in places that aren’t meant for bikes and cars together.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Leave a comment

Hitting the ground running

I’m coming back to earth after a wonderful weekend where my Son got married. A wonderful time it was. Everything went perfect. And joy and happiness abounded from both family and friends. Another great reward of being a father. And I learned a very important lesson, you can dance but there is a price. But I’m still glad I did dance. And anyone who has photos or video of said father making a fool of himself, I would like to purchase original copies. I’m sorry I missed saying a happy fathers day to all the Dad’s yesterday.

Hitting the week in stride. Photo by Mike Hartley

Hitting the week in stride.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Hoping to do some shooting each day this week. We made a quick trip out to Greenbridge Pottery. Check it out if you out in the Dayton area.

Greenbridge Pottery. Photo by Mike Hartley

Greenbridge Pottery.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Greenbridge Pottery Photo by Mike Hartley

Greenbridge Pottery
Photo by Mike Hartley

Greenbridge Pottery Photo by Mike Hartley

Greenbridge Pottery
Photo by Mike Hartley

Pick a chair, any chair. Photo by Mike Hartley

Pick a chair, any chair.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Leave a comment

Around the county in the AM

Took a drive and a walk. Felt good to get some exercise and grab a few shots along the way. Spotted a few things I’m going back to shoot on Saturday morning. Nice to be able to get out and not need an umbrella. Hope I can shoot more later in the day. I’m learning about this new lens and I like it so far. I hope to get to love it.

Who said there isn't light under a bridge?  Photo by Mike Hartley

Who said there isn’t light under a bridge?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Ready, set, SNEEZE. Yep that used to be the result of me being anywhere within miles of fields being harvested. But I believe I’ve outgrown most of those allergies.

Hay bailing machine along Mount View Rd. Photo by Mike Hartley

Hay bailing machine along Mount View Rd.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Taking a quick break in EC from the walk.

Sometimes woman's best friend.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Sometimes woman’s best friend.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I know they are serious about Yoga but barbed wire? And here I was thinking about giving it a try.

No early dismissal from this class.  Photo by Mike Hartley

No early dismissal from this class.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Built to last.

RR bridge in EC Photo by Mike Hartley

RR bridge in EC
Photo by Mike Hartley

OK, I know I said no more pictures of flowers this weekend. I never said anything about not taking pictures of pictures of flowers. This is at the window of the galleries in EC.

Framed and framed again. Photo by Mike Hartley

Framed and framed again.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You’ve got MAIL. Love how one has to bend over on steps to retrieve. Must be young people living there.

Step mail boxes.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Step mail boxes.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I lied, I can’t resist flowers.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Well the crap is going to hit the fan if I don’t get moving here so have a good morning all. I’m off again.

Fan on side of building Sand Hill Antiques and Refinishing.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Fan on side of building Sand Hill Antiques and Refinishing.
Photo by Mike Hartley

 


Leave a comment

Mall

Had some errands to run at the Columbia Mall yesterday. The Tailor shop for me and my better half had a few returns and wanted to get her eyebrows done. So given we were going to have baggage I only took my old camera along. I’m surprised that thing works so well still. I believe its 8 years old and still kicking.

Seriously you can't walk on water yet. Photo by Mike Hartley

Seriously you can’t walk on water yet, maybe next week.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I must get out more, when did the radical hair colors become stylish again? And when she turned I saw she also had matching blue lips. Very radical, I guess my generation was just the long hair.

While it’s too late for this gentlemen below to be saved, I thought I’d send the warning out that it’s not only unsafe at the shore but at your local Mall. Beware of man-eating signs. He looks a bit like the character Quint in Jaws and his line “This shark, swallow you whole.”

Man eating Sign. Or is that Sign eating Man? Photo by Mike Hartley

Man eating Sign. Or is that Sign eating Man? Guess it works both ways. 
Photo by Mike Hartley

So today I start testing out my new lens. Or at least I hope to. Lots on the agenda today competing with that idea. But before I let yesterday go. I have to note that my family made it a wonderful day. One of those you remember a life time. A very simple evening, but special to me.


Random Thoughts for Saturday June 4th 2016

  • And here I thought the political process had gotten as ugly as it was. Seems like were going to continue to turn it down several notches.
  • I still wonder who made the oversight in leaving me in charge of myself.
  • You know, we have to start helping each other more. If all the good people pulled together more the haters wouldn’t stand a chance.
  • Dear Mother Nature. I assume you’re getting all this weekend rain out-of-the-way to avoid it raining the weekend of my Son’s wedding. No problem as long as that is the understanding we both have.
  • I never thought of this before but I go from doing Post on my own time to working at the Post. So I guess you could say I’m Postal.
  • Well, much to do and little time for it all. Till the next Post.


2 Comments

Torture to fond memories

Each day now as I drive to work, I look at the building I called home for almost the last two decades, being torn down piece by piece. This is a big complex of buildings in DC that used to be home to The Washington Post. Now its quickly becoming a pile of rubble. Don’t get me wrong, the new home of The Washington Post is beautiful, wonderful, temperature controlled and without rats and roaches so far. Really nice digs in other words.

L Street looking towards 15th St. Photo by Mike Hartley

L Street looking towards 15th St.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Boy my office now has a really nice view. That last structure backing to the Russian Ambassador's residence is where I was located. Photo by Mike Hartley

Boy my office now has a really nice view. That last structure backing to the Russian Ambassador’s residence is where I was located.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But that doesn’t make it easier. For some reason I am compelled to stop, watch and think. But as I watch it I feel like a part of myself and others are being lost. Life experiences are somehow changed when the physical environment that they happened in no longer exist.

I can go back to the building in Howard County on 8307 Main Street Ellicott City where I started my career in 76 for Stromberg Publications and stand there and think about hearing the noise of the press spinning up or seeing people running about, the smell of chemicals from the engraving room. Looking through a hole in the concrete floor and seeing the Tiber run under the building.

My first job in newspapers fresh out of high school. I was hooked. I was in love with what we did and who I did it with. I have friends still from that first experience. That place gave me a confidence in myself I didn’t have before. I had an opportunity and I stepped up. And its been a great ride from then on.

From L Street looking north along 15th St. Photo by Mike Hartley

From L Street looking north along 15th St.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I can go to Columbia at 10750 Little Patuxent Parkway and see the old Flier Building that I spent 17 years in. So many fond memories just driving by the place sometimes. So many great friendships, accomplishments and growth. Possibly the greatest and most chaotic time in my life. I wish I had appreciated it more while I was there because there were some wonderful things done by some wonderful people.

I can go to the bottom of Main Street in Ellicott City and see and stand in the building where two wonderful partners and myself started a newspaper from scratch. Talk about your life experiences. Wow what a wonderful and also stressful time. Learned a ton about myself that I didn’t know before, with that experience.

The launch pad of Zip Publishing and The View Newspapers. Photo by Mike Hartley

The launch pad of Zip Publishing and The View Newspapers.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But now my home of the last 18 years on 15th street is disappearing before my eyes. A strange feeling indeed. Sometimes I’m sitting on the street trying to figure out whose office now has a floor to ceiling window view that didn’t before. Sometimes I’m in awe of the machines effectiveness in ripping a structure like that to the ground.

Sometimes I think back to events on the exterior of the building. The Limos picking up some old friends retiring after many decades of service who retired together and celebrated on the way out. Talking to the gals and guys outside the L Street Employee and delivery access door while they finished off their cigarettes. I quit smoking there 17 years ago. But there was always some good conversations outside the walls there.

I remember the motorcades and guys in suits/sunglasses and hardware (guns) escorting dignitaries or government officials in and out of the offices. And I’m guess with the occasional sniper team on the roofs of adjoining buildings for the leaders of state/countries. I’m pretty sure I spied one once or twice.

Then there was the anthrax threat with white powder being sent to Editorial. Guys in space suits in the Building checking for contamination. The day and days after the election where people lined up around the block to get extra copies of the paper.

Sad days where the presses on 15th street were stopped and removed. Wonderful days where journalist won many Pulitzer prizes. Great days where my teams were involved in keeping that paper publishing every day without exception and only by remarkable effort did it happen. And all the way to current times where its a 24/7 operation.

Editorial offices at the old 15th st building. Photo by Mike Hartley

Editorial offices at the old 15th st building.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The glass on the windows out of the cafeteria were shattered the other day. I spent a number of breakfast, lunches and dinners looking out those very windows. I saw a chair that we probably sat in crushed but the laughter was still coming from it. I’m surprised they actually need to spray the building for dust as they tear it down. There were so many floods in that place I’m surprised it isn’t waterlogged. But again my mind wanders.

Think about all the famous people you have seen coming and going from this place. I Remember the time I walked out the L Street door and was met with secret service guys almost immediately because they had the street sealed off for the President coming into the Capital Hilton service entrance across the street.

The day and night of September 11th. Watching the city evacuate with sidewalks and streets clogged and an hour later the place being a ghost town and just Hummers with men with automatic weapons around. Very surreal image of DC that sticks with me today.

One of the many floods in the old building. Photo by Mike Hartley

One of the many floods in the old building.
Photo by Mike Hartley

An elevator ride with Ben Bradley, and he spoke to me. And always amazed at how many people Don Graham knew by name. And then there is the symbol of what I held dear as a sign of my industry. The Linotype machine that was at the front entrance on 15th street. A symbol of strength and the power of words on paper. A symbol of a time when newspapers were the main tool in communication in a democracy.

Lobby of the old Washington Post building. Photo by Mike Hartley

Lobby of the old Washington Post building.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Wow, a growing pile of rubble. This is a new experience for me. At first when I saw it begin, it was a nasty feeling that just hit me wrong to the core. And as the days progressed the emotions expressed above rolled along. Now I’m thinking about what is important about memories and becoming at peace as the demolition continues.

I look at all the wonderful relationships that I had and continue to have from that time there. I think about the gut splitting laughter at times I thought would never end. I think about accomplishments done with others over the years. I think about the loss of some people while there. I reflect on the special opportunity that my first boss gave me there and will ever be in her debt for it.

It was my first BIG company. My first experience with bureaucracy.  My first experience with such a diverse set of personalities and egos. My first experience of the pressures of a daily product vs a number of weekly ones. The pressures of being right all the time because everything was critical. But it’s always been exciting and I wouldn’t trade it or the people who are important to me that I’ve met through there for anything else.

For it’s a leader in the industry and draws awe from others. Then again if it’s a person who read an article that the paper published who they seriously disagree with, then it draws ire. Either way its interesting working for an organization that is recognized as it is. In some ways it is amazing. Some of the best teams of people at any newspaper.

Roll (butt) ends from press. Also doubles as crab placematts. Photo by Mike Hartley

Roll (butt) ends from press. Also doubles as crab placematts.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But you know, I had the same feeling when I worked at a lot of local papers. Great teams of people with the same dedication, drive and desire to produce the best story, photo, ad each time. To print it beautifully and to get it there on time regardless of mother nature. These institutions are special. They were and are part of the fabric of our nation. Communication, understanding, argument, debate, resolution. From nations leaders to the little league baseball organizations. From photographers on the front lines in wars to here at home covering floods, tornadoes and other disasters or terrors.

100_7520

I’m so proud to have had a career in newspapers. I think it would have made my parents proud. I think it’s an honest profession. And that is why it bothers me so to watch a physical symbol go as it is. But just as time has changed the newspaper industry. It will change for the current hot digital organizations also. But if you noticed that the journalism leaders before are still at the top of the digital charts also because content is always king.

Quality writing, images and video will always be important as well as being delivered consistently and on time. I just hope the future generation does it with dignity, honest/truthfulness and objectivity that past veterans have. For if they do they will have a place in the publishing world for a long time.


I’ve been working on this off and on for a few weeks coming back and adding or changing a line. Well the old buildings are gone as of about a week ago. So here is to hoping the new building on 13th and K and the new people inside the new one (along with a few old timers) can form many happy memories and experiences also. But the old ones will be hard to top.


Leave a comment

Relaxing Saturday night

I have to start this off with the fine meal we had a Portalli’s this evening in Ellicott City. It was excellent company, with great food in a wonderful environment close to home. We sat downstairs for the first time for dinner. I found this very comfortable and might asked to be seated down there in the future. I found it a bit easier to talk. But I did like the piano music last time we were upstairs. Well give and take and just alternate. Or go with the mood in the future I guess.

Portalli's in Ellicott City. Photo by Mike Hartley

Portalli’s in Ellicott City.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Anyway service was grand. We did have to wait for a valet for a short bit but I think he was the only one working so its hard to be in two places at once. Regardless he was very nice and we were seated quickly with the exception of waiting for someone to take a family photo at dinner. No problem at all. Our waitress (I’m very sorry I didn’t catch her name) was very good. I though her timing was perfect. I didn’t feel rushed. She was there confirming all was well several times (after each course), cleaned up any dishes promptly and most of the time without interrupting the flow of our multiple conversations.

I didn’t have to ask for a thing all evening. Drinks and refills were always there. New silver between appetizers and main entrees. A steak knife for yours truly. Plates for our appetizers. Waters refilled. Crumbs cleaned from the linens. Everything went well. You know a waiter/waitress has to have a good sense of timing and people. And when you have multiple people finishing it can’t be perfect for everyone but tonight was about the best table service I’ve had in a good while.

And a tip of the hat to the Chef. The Baked Oysters were the best I’ve had in some time. The cold seafood appetizer we also shared (a special of the day) was very good also. The melting butter candle was unique and good. My three dinner mates all had salads. They seemed to be very happy with them. I think they were the Portalli’s salad. Sorry, I’m not a salad person, but I have had their Caesar before and that was great.

Instead of going with my favorite Seafood Carbonaro, I decided to go for the Filet Minion with friend eggplant as a side. The steak was ordered medium. It was perfectly cooked and had some nice seasoning. Very tender. My better half had the Surf & Turf Rigatoni. Our friends had the Cioppino Over Pappardelle and the Prosciutto-Wrapped Cod.

Everyone was very pleased and it was a great meal and conversation. It was a great way and place to spend a Saturday evening. It also was another great reminder to take every opportunity possible to get together with friends. I love my wife dearly and enjoy her company very much. But it’s also nice to have friends to socialize with. For both of us and anyone really its a healthy thing to have and do often.

And I say often because the more you do with friends, the stronger those relationships are. The more fun is had and the quality of life for everyone is improve. Thanks for the great company last night C&J.


1 Comment

A simple lunch, a simple bloom and a wonderful weekend

This week I was able to make some time to have lunch with my Daughter. What a wonderful thing to have some time with your children when they are grown. So much more of life to share. You do most of your child raising before they leave the nest but I’m realizing you never stop mentoring your kids.

And they never stop helping shape you as a parent. For that day, I was able to hear something in a way from her that made a lot of sense and it changed my approach to something and therefore improved and maybe even elongated my life. And in my rambling on through a nice lunch at Bare Bones in St John’s Plaza, I hope she picked up on some words of wisdom.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Life is precious, helping someone enjoy and get the most out of it is something we all should be helping each other do. Because I’m starting to learn, what you do for others comes back to help you out even more. Hey, I never said I was a fast learner. I’ve made a lot of mistakes to get to this point.


Exercising my menu selections. I’ve been slowly trying new dishes when I go out to eat. I love a great meal. So I decided to veer from my traditional favorites at China Taste in Enchanted Forest and made a selection from the Thai section. The Thai shrimp fried rice with pineapple and cashews. It was great. Loved it and now I have another favorite. Variety is the spice of life they say.

OK, I believe Ernesto’s in Enchanted Forest, may be challenging El Azteca in Clarksville, as my favorite south of the border fiesta. Well they have the advantage of being closer also. But the food is very good. Burritos Grande is a meal and a half. Very good. Yes its a chain and I believe in supporting my local businesses and certainly will visit El Azteca again.


This week my passion to learn returned again. This week I spent a lot of time worrying about a good friend and spent time letting them know it. This week my love for my better half grew. This week I didn’t let pain stop me all the time. This week I saw my best friends. This week I got excited about baseball season starting again. And also the championship of college basketball season. This week I realized I need to get busy creating something worthwhile. Make that many worthwhile things. This week is almost over. I’m looking forward to this coming week and seeing my children and friends and finding love each day. And remembering as my daughter taught me to not blow my horn or yell at all the people on the road that can’t drive.


 

Random Thoughts for Sunday April 3rd 2016

  • It’s not like I stop having random thoughts on days I don’t post. I just miss writing them down.
  • Looking forward to driving a real machine again.
  • If you watch TV you learn there is a pill for everything that ails you. If you listen closely though there are far more serious effects from taking those drugs.
  • I have to start testing myself more physically again. And spring and outdoor yard home chores and other sports should keep me active.
  • A new week begins again, what a wonderful thought, even if it does begin with work.


3 Comments

Intersections

Was going through some slides from my parents and came across some shots of an intersection that I’ve probably gone through a gazillion times. Route 29 and Gorman/John Hopkins road. When we first moved to Howard County in 1961, Rt 29 was a single lane road each way with no shoulder for good stretches. Most intersections were stop signs.

Corner of Route 29 and Gorman Road in 1961. And where I grew up in Hammond Villiage. Photo by James Hartley

Corner of Route 29 and Gorman Road in 1961. And where I grew up in Hammond Village.
Photo by James Hartley

I remember Dad and Mom stopping at this point and taking these shots of our new neighborhood signs and the Southern States store across the road, along with many more shots around the neighborhood. And yes that is the family powder blue 57 Chevy. Also notice the two Postal Employees installing a mailbox on the corner that day. You can see their truck on the other side of the road behind our car.

Looking across Route 29 to John Hopkins RD and the old Southern States store. Photo by James Hartley

Looking across Route 29 to John Hopkins road and the old Southern States store.
Photo by James Hartley

Crossing Rt 29 used to be almost a daily pastime on summer days. Gather enough change to walk up to the Southern States store and stand in front of this wonderful soda machine with a big glass door. The sodas were lined up on the right side and a thin vertical door would open when you paid for them. Nehi Grape, Root Beer and refreshing Orange. RC Cola’s and YooHoo’s. Never liked the YooHoo’s. And eventually I believe a Coke machine. But then our parents didn’t like us crossing Rt 29, even though it was a single lane each way road with little traffic.

So we used to collect bottles along the road and take them to Scaggsville Market at Rt 216 and 29 and turn them in for penny’s and nickels to get more treats. Boy life was simple at that age. Woods where we would build forts and new homes to wander through as they were being built. Most people never even locked their doors. And if you did I’m sure several of your neighbors had keys.

I still have many friends from growing up in this neighborhood. Many wonderful memories of fun, games, playing every sport known to man and some we would make up,  late night antics as we grew into our young teens. But just like us it has aged. In most spots well but in some time has taken its toll.

Which brings me to present day. For even though we sold our family home in 2007, if my memory is correct, I’m blessed with having a best friend who brought a home in the same neighborhood about 30 years ago. So I’m still going though the same old intersections on a frequent basis. I pass it twice a day still on work days. It’s a six lane highway today that still gets clogged. You wouldn’t dare run across it even if you can run a 4.5  4o yard dash. And while much has changed, much remains the same.

All I know is that there is a strange comfort passing this spot frequently. I guess because it has been such a fine memory.

Looking northbound along Route 29 at Gorman Road. Photo by James Hartley

Looking northbound along Route 29 at Gorman Road.
Photo by James Hartley

So as these guys finish installing that mailbox, I’ll finish rambling on about my youth for the moment. But it does make me glad I took the time to look through some old slides and share some of Howard County in 1961 or 62. Not positive which year on these, but it is one of the two.


Leave a comment

A neighbors tree

Soon the trees will bloom as this one did across the street from me last year. The flowers are already poking through the ground. And let the sneezing begin. No problem though. I’m all about the warm temps. Yeah it means lots of outside labor but it also means outside sports and shorts. So bring it all on. If I can just make it through that cool breeze and lower than average temps today.


Random thoughts for Monday March 21st 2016

  • There is nothing like being here to celebrate your child’s birthday. Hope you had a great day honey.
  • Funny how debates don’t get to the question of what plans they have for correcting the real problems of this country. Oh they do, it’s the answers that aren’t there.
  • I see sunshine, I must get off my behind and get out and shoot some today.
  • Funny how ones mind works when your boss schedules a one and one.
  • Monday after the first weekend of Madness, emotional letdown. Till Thursday that is. And it begins again.


Leave a comment

The front porch

Sunrises and sunsets are one of my life’s addictions. One of my healthier ones. I’ll never get enough of them. I try to pause, think, reflect, relax and use them to appreciate that which has come my way. This transition time when the sun is stronger, warmer and contrasted still against the bare trees is a nice time of year.

Sunset across the street. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sunset across the street.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Soon leaves will fill the space across the street. But somehow these views are still beautiful all year-long from my front porch. I certainly haven’t taken full advantage of that position. When I do there is an utter relaxation and peace that has been one of the many moments in this home that I had envisioned before we came here.

My better half and I have always admired homes with front or even wrap around porches. Ones with swings maybe or a wood cut banister. Maybe a few old style wooden rockers. Anyway I digress, we have a small and quaint porch and it has two fairly comfortable outdoor chairs with a table between them.

But its our porch and it gives me strength. I’ve sat on it and watched my children come and go. I’ve sat there after mowing the yard for 3-4 hours on a HOT summer day and caught my wind. And I’ve always been able to bolt off the porch with a burst of renewed energy. I’ve rested there on FREEZING days after shoveling my driveway for hours. I’ve listened to music on the old Walkman and lost myself in the tunes on a fall evening. I’ve stood there and watched huge thunderstorms roll over with lightning displays. I wave goodbye to my better half as she leaves for work as she does for me.

It’s a small section of concrete with some white pillars and a few chairs with cushions surrounded by a small garden area and a dogwood tree. And its been mine for almost the last three decades and it is one of the many views I have from my home that I’m in love with. But really I’m just in love with the many memories it has given me that are movies in my mind I can draw from when needed.

Especially that one where it’s that hot summer day and I’ve been working outside an my better half comes home with the big cherry snowball and I get to sit there and try unsuccessfully not to get brain freeze. Then again stringing the Christmas lights up each winter is also one that I like to. Oh yeah the sounds of the wind chimes. Or watching the bee’s go from flower to flower or the squirrels sprinting from the two oak trees in my front yard.

Then there is the many memories of my pet waiting for me at the door as I step up to the porch. And many others that I think about it now. I hope you have a front porch in your life.


A family that drinks together, smiles together. Just an old photo I took of a family in line at Hershey Park.

bottle

 

You can’t beat weather like this. So crank up them engines and let the good times roll. I shot this maybe 4 decades ago on my best friends dock, on St Leonard creek. I have spent many a day with them and greatly enjoyed their family sharing that bay lifestyle with me.  Boating, swimming, crabbing, fishing. And rumors of some huge fun fest that I have no knowledge of.

spdboat


Howard County Food

Had a wonderful dinner at Ernesto’s in Enchanted Forrest recently with my better half. The place really hops and I’m glad to see it doing well because I like having a good Mexican restaurant close by to home. Would recommend it highly. Had a great server also. I think his name was Louis.

Also stopped by Shannon’s a few weeks ago and had a wonderful dinner. That place never disappoints and its great service compliments the fine food.

And while I can’t wait till Mission BBQ opens to try that because I love BBQ, I won’t go without saying that Canopy has been a mainstay in this county for ages and I still am very pleased with the quality of their products.


Random Thoughts for Thursday March 10th 2016

  • My better half doesn’t realize I just use twice a much light mayonnaise as I would if I just had real mayonnaise.
  • One of these days I’d like to stop worrying about how much money it takes to retire and just retire.
  • Many people don’t know what an inter-grill part of the house your hot water heater is.
  • I’m going to pursue a tip I saw on another blog, read a page of the manual each day. Now if I could find the manual.
  • If you keep an old style desk calendar you can start to get an idea of how fast time really flies.
  • How does it all go so wrong at times?  Oh yeah, as Red Forman would say “you’re a dumb ass”
  • Read a post from a young lady saying don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Obviously we have never worked at the same place. But I do agree with her in life in general about not being afraid to try, and fail.
  • Sometimes words flow. Don’t know if they have the right effect, but sometimes they just seem to flow and it makes me feel at ease at least.

 

 


Leave a comment

A look to my left and some more around the county

Looking over this area the last 30 years gives me a calm from the madness. As soon as I pull out of my neighborhood I get this view to my left. I should have been taking a photo of this view every day of the year as I did this morning. It’s a beautiful view. It changes often with the field in the foreground. There is often wildlife out there. There is sometimes work being done on the field. There are people sitting at the snowball stand where I shot this from cooling off from the hot summer sun looking over this view.

The Howard County Conservancy Photo by Mike Hartley

The Howard County Conservancy
Photo by Mike Hartley

I love this view. I always spend a lot of time looking that direction and holding that image as I think about the drive I take to DC for work. I try to hold the calm it provides. Not always successful in that but I try. I think I’ll do more with this angle over the year. That’s if this old guy writes it down so I don’t forget.

You know I used to think that stating goals out loud helped me keep to them. Well the truth is that doesn’t work. Doing something each day does. A fact I keep forgetting and letting inaction become my action. I thought about this in working on this blog. I didn’t want to overwhelm possible followers. I didn’t want to bore with my writing that might not be up to snuff. I didn’t want to post average or below average images. I know I’m not organized or a good designer so the thoughts and presentation aren’t up to par.

I worry about all these things and stop creating. A constant fight I need to overcome. Well maybe it is average work at best but at least I’m going to keep plugging away trying to get better for the time being. Because the beauty around me needs to be captured and the thoughts I have might help someone in addition to myself.

I also took my old (and I mean old) Kodak out this morning because I had my long lens on the Nikon. Still takes an acceptable image for a 8 mp camera from 2007.

Our county team making sidewalks safe Photo by Mike Hartley

Our county team making sidewalks safe
Photo by Mike Hartley

Not the best in low light but I like capturing hard-working people. And anyone shoveling or salting is working hard. I know what the business end of a snow shovel feels like after decades of practice.

Mill and bridge after snow.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Mill and bridge after snow.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Just trying some contrast shots with the snow. I really have to get over my phobia about winter and get out and shoot more during the season. As I look back I did do much better than the past this year but could still improve a ton.

Good Shepherd Cemetery  Photo by Mike Hartley

Good Shepherd Cemetery
Photo by Mike Hartley

As I stood there taking this shot I was reminded again to get to my parents grave site and pay my respects soon.

Stream along New Cut Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Stream along New Cut Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

Another quiet spot I stood for a few minutes. Just admiring the sound of water. Both falling from the sky and branches and the stream.

I think we need a more current sign EC Photo by Mike Hartley

I think we need a more current sign EC
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, enough from the old digital camera. Back to chores and more shooting this afternoon.


3 Comments

A final dusting

A final dusting overnight. At least I hope it’s the final blast of snow for the season. I’m ready for spring myself. But I got out and walked a few spots this morning between 6 and 8am. Was fairly brisk but a beautiful morning it was. Snow has a way of quieting life and letting you reflect with less noise and distraction. Combine that with the sound of running water from a brook and I was very content. Actually stood at a few spots and just listened, forgetting I needed to maximize every free moment to shoot the quickly passing conditions.

Patapsco River Photo by Mike Hartley

Patapsco River
Photo by Mike Hartley

Felt good to get out and shoot again. Took a hiatus from it for a few days. Not intentional, just busy with life. But now I’m thinking I want to go out again today and do some more. I know were going for a family walk this weekend and that will be another opportunity for some candid work and maybe some nature depending on the path and park chosen.

Mill at EC. Photo by Mike Hartley

Mill at EC.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It also feels good to get in front of the computer and write share some thoughts again. I was letting life get out of balance again and working on this blog, photographing and creating again keeps that positive balance I need. While I’m still good at the technical work I do and I enjoy learning new things there they just don’t excite me like they used to. It doesn’t stop me from trying my best or applying myself fully, it’s just different at this stage of my life.


Random Thoughts for Friday Morning March 4th 2016

  • Minutes without pain are a blessing.
  • Had a warm cup of tea and honey this morning. Haven’t done that in decades. Hit the spot after that walk in the cold this morning.
  • I thought they were replaying the Republican debate this morning on the TV, but it was just the Maury show.
  • I have to get back to helping those in greater need than myself.
  • Loved watching the Terps get a victory last night. Wore my new shirt “Made for March” with the big Maryland M under it.
  • Started to limit my thoughts about what I could do recently instead of just letting it flow. Good thing to catch.
  • Well, tax stuff to complete before any more fun. But as Arnold says “I’ll be back”

 


1 Comment

It’s that time again

OK, time to freeze our behinds off again for a few days. No matter how warm it gets during the summer here, I never get as uncomfortable as I am when it gets as cold as it can get here. So the HAWK (what my friends and I call the cold) is in town with his whole family it appears. Well I plan on giving them plenty of space by staying inside as much as possible. I’m sure I’m going to get a call from my friend who is walking his lab down by the river today and saying it’s just brisk outside.

Time to Freeze. Photo by Mike Hartley

Time to Freeze.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So try to stay warm. I’m going to try to get my studio working and do some writing before watching the Terps later in their march towards MARCH MADNESS.

A fresh snow in Columbia, this was from a while back but this mornings thin coating reminded me of this day. Photo by Mike Hartley

A fresh snow in Columbia, this was from a while back but this mornings thin coating reminded me of this day.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Actually I should get out and take some cold weather and wind shots. Nothing like mother nature to bring out the extremes in things. Last time I was out in this the auto-focus was slow to react. Might have to change to manual. I’ve found myself flipping back and forth more lately.

 


Random Thoughts for Saturday February 13th 2016

  • Trying to keep a balance for living for tomorrow and not forgetting yesterday is tough.
  • You know, the only way you know if you can do something, is to start trying to do it.
  • And once you start doing it, don’t be afraid to keep doing it.
  • And when your finished doing it you blink your eyes and a career of decades lays behind you. Smile.
  • I wonder if the Post It note pads will ever go out of style?
  • A haircut always makes me feel better. I just wish I felt good enough to get to the barber.

 


1 Comment

Snowball Stand

I’ll take the large dirty snowball with salt on top. What a mess out there on the roads. But I won’t say more without adding another thanks to the men and women who take care of our highways and streets for us. They look beat, just like every resident in this area. I’ve spent parts of 3 days now shoveling out. I know my children won’t like that but everyone has to work. I did try to do it right and I’m not really that sore from it at all.

Woodstock Snowball stand. Photo by Mike Hartley

Woodstock Snowball stand.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And a wonderful neighbor Scott came over with his front end loader to finish off what the plow put back into our driveway that we had shoveled out. Again, no offence to the snow plow driver. It’s got to go somewhere. Was just nice to have our street cleared on late Monday.

Traffic can stop anywhere because plows and front end loaders have no place else to move. Photo by Mike Hartley

Traffic can stop anywhere because plows and front end loaders have no place else to move.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So be prepared for disappearing lanes, sudden stops out of nowhere. Be courteous, yeah I know it’s not in you, but give it a shot. If I can do it anyone can. Also be patient with your local businesses also. It’s not like snow didn’t fall on them also. I did go by O’Donnell Honda today and they were plowing away so we could go test drive those nice new cars in the heavily salted roads.

Clearing the lot at Odonnell Honda Photo by Mike Hartley

Clearing the lot at O’Donnell Honda
Photo by Mike Hartley

It was fun getting out and shooting a bit today. I should have been sleeping because I’m paying for it now. I’ll have to see if I can fit in a few more hours on Wednesday.


Random Thoughts for Tuesday January 26th 2016

  • I’m finding it hard to get back in a positive frame of mind lately.
  • Seems like the more doctors appointments I have the worse I feel.
  • Working for a living and not living to work. Finally got that one right.
  • Maybe things wouldn’t get away from me if I kept an eye on them.


Leave a comment

A prickly start

Well we got all our shopping done. We have been comfortably snug in the homestead preparing for the storm which is here. And as long as I have power I’m going to be a happy camper. But losing that is a real possibility if history is any measure. And I’ll really need it on soon if it does go off because my better half has a birthday to celebrate in the coming days. And no power would leave her unhappy and therefore I would be unhappy.

I think I’ll work through the night and prepare as much material as I can and maybe even learn how to use the scheduled publish option I think I read about at one point. See even old guys can learn to adapt.

Cacti Photo by Mike Hartley

Cacti
Photo by Mike Hartley

I know, your asking, why run a picture of a wild cactus when we are about to get 2-3 feet of snow in 36 hours or less? Well it’s because I want to and I found it along with some other images as I was cleaning out an old slide drawer. And I’m searching through drawers because I don’t feel that good to be out and about shooting right now.

Maybe later tonight after we get the first 12 inches of snow. Maybe not. I know were going to get enough snow, that pictures of it will get old fast. So why start early, might as well change it up a bit.

Sometimes photography is a wonderful thing. Like when you remember the day you stopped along Murray Hill road to snap this shot. It’s the rolling hills that used to dominate this county. A warm summer day. Cattle grazing. Yeah, simpler days.

Along Murray Hill Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Murray Hill Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Oh and another shot that has to be 40-50 years old along Gorman Road below. I grew up near this location. Hammond Village to be exact. I’m sure the few land owners in that area weren’t thrilled with that new community at the time either. I still like to drive down Gorman Road but that has changed also.

Along Gorman Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Gorman Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

Wow, if I was really prepared I’d have all my devices fully charged. Well 3 out of 4 isn’t bad. Let me go plug-in the last one. And as you can see below I’ve transitioned back to the cold reality of winter we are all facing now. Use your heads, don’t overdo it with the shovels. Keep warm and dry. And enjoy the WEEK OFF OF WORK. Just kidding with that last thought. Take two weeks off.

Frozen Berries Photo by Mike Hartey

Frozen Berries
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wonder if we could walk to Turf Valley Resort if we lost power here and they still had it? As I said, be smart, be safe and enjoy a blizzard.

 


Leave a comment

Sleepy Sunday and a holiday Monday

Well, it’s almost Monday. What, a holiday Monday? I guess court won’t be in session today. No problem, people in my profession work holidays. We also work weekends and nights. We work all the time which is a major problem with this type of job. But its good to have work as they say. And if your work covers your bills and needs than your good to go.

County Courthouse. Photo by Mike Hartley

County Courthouse.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I do enjoy my work, but I really enjoy my hobbies and this is a big part of that. And in that vein I hope its a good week that is filled with new shooting and projects started being completed. I have gotten off my writing schedule and I plan on making up for that on Monday.


Random Thoughts for Sunday January 17th 2016

  • Up early and on the treadmill is a nice feeling each day. Well at least for a few minutes till my back tightens up.
  • So many interest, so little time, so little skills, so little practice, so much joy.
  • Not sure I’m interested in being a mind reader.
  • Wonder if I can capture what cold looks like this week in pictures. Should have plenty of opportunities.
  • Plan on working a lifetime. But get a lotto ticket to keep hope of not working a lifetime alive.
  • You know I used to struggle with gifts for my better half. But I feel like I’m starting to hit a grove with her after 30+ years.
  • Well, no reason to continue to watch football this year. The GB Packers made a good showing yesterday even though nobody gave them a chance.
  • There are few things better than a good weekend with family and friends. I like learning this lesson every weekend.


1 Comment

Running like a stream

Well not really running like a stream, but I’m walking more and that is kind of like this stream. Slow and steady. Just like these shots along Henryton Road earlier today. It’s a goal of mine this year to get back in fairly good shape. The weight part is doing well but getting my energy and stamina back is the first thing on the agenda for this month and next.

Stream along Henryton Road.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Stream along Henryton Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’ve gotten out now 2 days in a row shooting a bit. Not a lot of time either day, but its good to keep plugging away at the craft. And the exercise while doing it helps my first objective. I’m also starting to realize how much exercise leads to a good attitude again. Always knew that but when pain is in the way that benefit gets deluded. But as my health returns a bit I’m again feeling the benefit.

Along Henryton Road today.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Henryton Road today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I don’t know if this warm weather has changed the growing season or not. But I did see this farm combine with some activity around it along Route 99 today. I don’t know why farms are so interesting to me. I admire people who work the land I guess. It’s a business where so many things aren’t in your control. Things that can wipe you out. Weather I would be guessing is one of them. But on the other end, you see harvest of your hard work and skill come in.

Combine along Rt 99. Seems a bit early to me but hell its been warm.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Combine along Rt 99. Seems a bit early to me but hell its been warm.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You know, I’m going to have to start reading about whom I’m going to vote for very soon. At least that is what I thought of when I looked at the shot I took at Centennial Lake the other day below. I can hear the Republicans (gulls) saying look at those stupid ducks swimming in that freezing water. And I can hear the Democrats (ducks) saying look at those stupid gulls standing on the freezing ice. And neither realizing they are in the same body of water. In all my years of voting, I can’t remember a time when I’ve been more disappointed by all the choices available on either side of the fence. I’m tired of the lies, soundbites, money grubbing, arrogance, hate and lack on leadership and a plan everyone can get behind to be a real leader in the world. Yeah we might be the biggest guy on the block because of our might. But were showing that we aren’t all that smart and are easily divided and have gotten so petty with our own self interest that getting anything accomplished now in Government is impossible.

Swim or Stand? Photo by Mike Hartley

Swim or Stand?
Photo by Mike Hartley

You know I’m thankful for small things in life, like the tools my Mom passed down to me. And two of them were camera lenses. One a AF Nikon 70-210mm f/4-5.6 and 35-70 f/3.5. The guy at the photo store laughed and said maybe a hundred or 150 for the two of them together. Certainly not fine pieces of glass I’ve had to work with in front of that nice D7100 body. But you know what, they work just fine for lenses that are 28 years old. And I’ve used them the last 2 years (I wish more) and they have held up fine. Yeah they might not give me the professional quality or abilities of fine glass. But they got this amateur photographer off the ground. One of them was so bad it made the 10 worst Nikon lens list by a prominent reviewer. And yes I know I need to move on from them and will but a big thanks for leaving them for me and enabling me to get shooting again at a level above using that Kodak Z812 I bought long ago. See, even when your parents are gone they are always leaving you gifts along the way in life. From tools and lessons to many memories.

So I hear the sun makes a return again today after the rain last night so let me get things charged up and ready to go. Because while Tom Cruise might feel the “need for speed.”  I feel the need to create.


Leave a comment

Caught sunning, Progress? and Thoughts

Pulled up along Manor Lane off Rt 108 yesterday afternoon. Hadn’t been back that way in a long time. Unfortunately I disturbed this fellows nap in the sun. I believe the eyes were shut when I rolled up slowly and got out. But they weren’t for long. For all three horses seemed to be interested in the new company.

Along Manor Lane. Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Manor Lane.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I love turning down roads in this county that I’ve never been on before (very, very few) or ones that I haven’t cruised for years or decades. Yeah I used the word cruised. Because that is what we used to do. I’ve left a lot of rubber on streets, routes, drives, interstates throughout this county. Every paved and sometimes unpaved surface. Most of it through very normal driving but I can’t say that I’ve never done a few burnouts also. I’ve also ridden a bike and motorcycle also over a gazillion miles of county roads in addition to those in the cage.

Yeah its a bad hair day, did you stand out in that wind the other day. Photo by Mike Hartley

Yeah its a bad hair day, did you stand out in that wind the other day.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I still enjoy driving and seeing all the beauty this county provides. But its more of a challenge now. For the progress and density of growth has started to overwhelm me. I miss the openness. I miss roads that weren’t bumper to bumper cars. I miss long stretches of rolling hills and the occasional red barn in the distance. Yeah that red barn is still there but it has a new addition to it.

026

Red Barn along Manor Lane with technology of a different sort in the background. Photo by Mike Hartley

I remember the day when you could spot a lot of friends out on the road by their particular cars.  That’s a lost art with the volume of traffic we have now and the divided highways. I realize that time changes everything. I was trying to relate the changes I’ve seen to words. That is very easy and difficult at the same time. For if I wander down to Rocky George as I once did in the late 60’s and early 70’s, things seem relatively unchanged. Swing sets might be made of different things. But the water, woods and roads remain the same to my untrained eyes. Days where every home seemed to have a tire swing and basketball hoop.

Rope swing and basketball hoop, what more could one need. Photo by Mike Hartley

Rope swing and basketball hoop, what more could one need.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Then there is Columbia. That didn’t exist when we came to Howard County in 1961. The days were everything was single lane roads. Days were in a good winter you might wait for many days for a plow to come by. Time when you still went to school with 3-6 inches of snow falling or already on the ground.

If it weren’t Columbia it would have still been mass development of some sort so in retrospect that “Planned Community” is probably a great thing. I’m sure some might argue but for a city, it’s pretty well disguised. And while it has a beauty and many places that I like to shoot at, I still gravitate towards the old school Howard County. Guess that is what I grew up with and what I’m comfortable with.

I always thought I’d be happy to retire here. Some days I wonder about that.

So this little over 1 mile stretch of old county road provided me with a few things to share today and I hope to be taking many more views from around the area. And don’t worry, I’ll continue to share my thoughts about development.

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Condition

Saw a note from a friend about an old neighbor I grew up with, passing on Dec 31st. He graduated Atholton high school the year before I did. He was a Marine (didn’t know that part about him) and former Howard County police officer. His service is this week and I think I’ll go and pay my respects and if I can’t make the time for that I think I’ll pull by his home in Hammond Village and pause for a few moments. For Mike taught me something recently.

Condition of relationships. Photo by Mike Hartley

Condition of relationships.
Photo by Mike Hartley

One is, it’s never to late to reach out and reconnect with good people. Take the time to do it,  for I always haven’t taken each person up on it and I’ve regretted it from time to time. Yeah were all busy and yes we all have packed relationships and don’t think we make enough time for people we already hold close. The thought about taking on more is staggering. But do it. You don’t have to make huge commitments with today’s technology. Just a letter or note once every so often. You will both benefit from it. Because life is about shared experiences and creating new ones so why not include all the people you can that make you happy.

I saw a few comments about how young he was (59) And being I’m 58 I’d have to agree with that but a wise older co-worker once taught me a valuable lesson many years ago. He was about 60 at the time and he was always going to either a wedding or funeral. And he would note that the funerals were getting more frequent and not just older people but people his age. I saw him re prioritize his life and retire shortly there after. And he hasn’t regretted a day of it from what he tells me as people passing around him has increased.

No I can’t retire anytime soon. But I am about connecting more with people who have been in my life at various stages. I have been blessed with having lifelong friends. Most 3-4 decades old and very close. But I’ve also lost touch with some good friends from both childhood and work. And I think I’m going to drop a few notes or maybe even make a few calls to say hello. I’m sure some might be short or some might not meet with a reply, but others will be very fruitful. Because of having experienced it before you know you can just pick up with some people from almost the moment you left off be it a year or a decade. And the things that made that relationship special at that previous time tend to come rushing back. And then you can move on and create new laughs.

I try to be a good friend. I try to be a good co-worker. I try to be a good Dad. I’m sure I’ve failed at each at times so if you see a negative review about my life, it probably could be deserved. But I won’t let it be from a lack of effort. Because you never know when that last conversation or laugh or fond memory that might even trigger a tear might happen and then never happen again.

The nice thing about being older is that sometimes recollections of others are special gifts. Especially if they knew your family and go way back in some way in your life. It can lead to many thoughts and memories, maybe put aside or seen or heard from another perspective that now bring something more to an already special person or moment in your life. Of course, life is risky and at times it can go other ways. Because we all know life has two sides.

So today I’m going to reach out to a few old friends. One in person and one by email. And I’m sure both of these will be met with a very positive response. See when starting something always set a few victories early to stay inspired.

And like the sign above says. We all become Used, Old And RARE. As in Treasures, if you work at it.

PS: The sign above is from Ellicott City. The book store at the top of the street I believe. Thank you for sharing your sign.


Random Thoughts from Monday 1/4/2016 and early Tuesday morning.

  • I thought I could get this post together yesterday but that was yesterday.
  • OK who turned off the HEAT???
  • I wasn’t born a polar bear, therefore I do not go outside in this.
  • Lets see, the price of oil could sore with the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Or the price could plummet with sanctions soon to be lifted on Iran and a glut of oil could be dumped on the market. Do we get a vote in this matter?
  • I’m beginning to see the problem with the middle east. I think they like the killing more than the living. Then again I live near Baltimore Maryland where the same problem seems to be taking shape. The only difference is that one is in the name of someones god and the other is drugs. But the end result is the same. Death.
  • So what to do about the worlds ill’s today. I have a full glass of loose change. Time for a few charitable donations. You’d be surprised what a big glass full of loose change amounts to.
  • Well I’ll also play the flight of fantasy called the Powerball lotto being it’s so high. And if I hit then you can see some true donations. And no I don’t spend more than $2 on it and I only play a half-dozen times a year at the most.
  • Oops, too many words and not enough pictures in this Post. Balance you idiot.

 


3 Comments

A Sunday morning shoot and stroll

Like I said, I was going to get shooting again and I was going to try to explore the county more. Well I only had an hour this morning and had to stop for gas but it was great to get out and work at this craft. I also did a bit of walking but really too cold for my taste. But a friend of mine says embrace the Hawk so a bit of walking I did. Plus its easier to get better shots if I get my behind out of the seat while I still can.

I still call this Browns farm. It's actually the Howard County Conservancy's. Photo by Mike Hartley

I still call this Browns farm. It’s actually the Howard County Conservancy’s. Just before sunrise
Photo by Mike Hartley

Then again I sat in the car to take this shot along Woodstock Road above.  And the one below of DD.

Marriotsville and Rt 99 Photo by Mike Hartley

Marriotsville and Rt 99
Photo by Mike Hartley

I almost stopped at the new (well relatively) Dunkin Doughnuts but I don’t drink coffee and doughnuts are the last thing I need even though I do desire them.

Actually was going to throw this picture out but it reminded me of one of my pet peeves in this County. All the damn Real Estate signs at every corner. I’m tired of it. I was tired of it decades ago and I’m still tired of it today.

Well now that I got that off my chest, back to some pictures. As I traveled down Marriotsville I’ve always admired the flag at the county dump up on the hill catching sunlight. Well, not much of a breeze this morning to make it fly but it was standing tall as always. Hats off to the staff that runs that up and down each day.

 

Flag over dump at sunrise. Photo by Mike Hartley

Flag over dump at sunrise.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The Shell station confirmed my frozen fingers and slow-moving zoom functions this morning. Even though this might be suspect because the time that follows the temperature there is an hour off still. Kind of sad nobody has corrected that yet. But who am I to complain. My clock in my car is wrong 6 months out of the year. Or whenever daylight savings time is.

Cold Photo by Mike Hartley

Cold
Photo by Mike Hartley

And the price is holding below $2 at the St Johns Shell. Wonder how long these prices will last. Gets tempting to buy that muscle car with gas at this level.

Price on 1/3 in EC. Photo by Mike Hartley

Price on 1/3 in EC.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Drove down to the County Courthouse. And took a walk till my hands and equipment were plenty cold. I’m going to have to read up on cold weather shooting tips for photographers if I’m going to be out in this climate.

County Courthouse Photo by Mike Hartley

County Courthouse
Photo by Mike Hartley

Never hurts to look over a hill and see what you can.