THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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A missed treat no more

I’ve lived in this area for over 5 decades and yet I’ve never taken in the Cherry Blossom’s in Washington DC before yesterday. And what a wonderful day it was. Well except for a mostly cloudy afternoon and the crowds. I don’t mind crowds but I was surprised about how inconsiderate people had become. Such is life, and for me it didn’t take away the beauty and fun of the day with my better half. But it did change how I view big events like this.

Cherry blossoms and Jefferson Memorial.. Photo by Mike Hartley

Cherry blossoms and Jefferson Memorial..
Photo by Mike Hartley

Anyway let me get back to the enjoyment of the event. But first a full disclosure. I’ve also worked in DC for the last 2 decades also and haven’t made the walk several blocks south to see this. One this indicates an unhealthy dedication to my job or being a complete idiot to ignore the beauty of nature for this long so close by. Probably the later.

So our Friday off together started out with a rainy morning. I was actually thinking about skipping it because of that and not feeling 100%. But we weren’t on any schedule and I’m glad I sucked it up and with the help of some meds I was able to get my behind in gear.

I was excited to be on our way. I know my wife was because I also know that smile that says yes, we are out of the house and doing something together. Yes in more full disclosure I have not been the best at keeping that balance in our relationship. So when I saw that smile, it made my day. One of many she shared this fine day.

These were the only two who weren't fighting the crowds this day. Photo by Mike Hartley

These were the only two who weren’t fighting the crowds this day.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Despite this smile I was cautious about heading to DC on a Friday. Not only that a holiday weekend Friday. And with peak blooms before any bad weather, it was going to be crowded. And traditionally traffic on a Friday get out-of-town can be a disaster some weeks.

Getting down was actually very easy and I was able to park in my company garage and show my better half our new offices while there. From there we walked from 13th and K to our destination the Tidal Basin. We made the entire loop around the basin and then some. It was great walking but I’m feeling it in the hips and behind this morning. The bottom of my feet are also a bit tender but what the hell. What a walk. What a beautiful day. What sights to behold. And if you’re a people watcher, it was a great place to be this day.

It was family photo shoot day it appeared. Photo by Mike Hartley

It was family photo shoot day it appeared.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This was a day that showed me Photography was alive and well and will be for some time to come. Only the people outnumbered the number of Cherry Blossoms and only the number of cameras outnumbered the people there.

The next thing that caught my attention was this was a family event. Every age, every combination (including pets and their parents). Every nationality, everything. It was a reality version of Epcot.

I was mesmerized by some of the family interaction and lost many shots just to watching the interactions. Most of them very positive but kids looking at trees only last so long. And being these are low the first thought in their heads is to climb. But of course that is off-limits. I haven’t read up but I did hear people saying that it’s against rules to even touch the buds. Kind of makes sense because I’m sure there would be a number of people taking home samples if it weren’t illegal.

Amature photographer (me) photographing what appears to be professional photographer. At least I got rid of my spare tire. Photo by Mike Hartley

Amateur photographer (me) photographing what appears to be professional photographer. At least I got rid of my spare tire.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But back to the subject of photography for a minute. Obviously I might be a little old-fashioned but courtesy is a very important thing. Not just with photography but in general in any successful society. But in regards photo courtesy used to be a much easier thing to accomplish. One because “the photographer” see photo to the right here always had this huge appendage attached to his face. I still subscribe to this method myself but I also recognize the other tools in use now. One being much smaller digital cameras with viewers that are being used instead of the one in the camera.

But then there is the smart phone camera. And this is a confusing tool because people can be taking selfies and or shots of the environment and people from the other direction with a push of the button. Therefore you don’t know whether to step between them and the camera or behind them and the camera or the outside of the camera and them.

Yesterday I was repeatedly confused as to which direction to step not to unintentionally photo bomb someones family photo or selfie. Life is getting difficult to be courteous because of technology. You could tell the professionals out there. One most of them had come and gone already. The sunrise and sunset views as well as the evening shots are dramatic that I’ve seen in some others in blogs I’ve followed.

Washington Monument in the background of the blossoms. Photo by Mike Hartley

Washington Monument in the background of the blossoms.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Also the professionals displayed a courtesy to each other as much as possible in said event. But they were few and far between. Sure, there were people who were trying to be respectful of others and people waiting to get to certain spots and views while others took their shots.

But far too many people were totally oblivious to those around them. Which made it difficult at times just walking let alone doing much else. Mostly the kids were in control. It was the adults being rude or so self-centered that sharing the space around them wasn’t in their plans. Well such is the new reality in big events.

Just the same I’ll be back for it again. For the views and images I’ve seen some capture in different times of the day I just have to attempt. Who knows, maybe Monday.

Views like this don't begin to do it justice. You must attend. Photo by Mike Hartley

Views like this don’t begin to do it justice. You must attend.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You know, looking at some of this work a dark blue sky is a nice background against the monuments. I’ll have to keep that in mind when shooting these structures. This kind of has inspired me to do some more shooting around town. For the opportunities in DC are kind of endless.

Plus it’s a nice contrast to the work I do in my rural area of the county I live. And if you want street and people photography (two areas I need some practice in) its a fine as place as any to try.

Which leads me to question of is the selfie taking the place of street photography? Naw, I know the answer but it’s really something of a puzzle to me. I don’t understand it, I don’t like it. I think its narcissistic. I’d be embarrassed to have anyone see me take a selfie. Don’t know exactly why, but I would be.

A selfie generation. Photo by Mike Hartley

A selfie generation.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But today it must be the in thing. Guess I’m showing my age again but I just don’t get it and probably won’t. I don’t have a problem of people doing it. Sometime it makes a good photo opt in itself. I saw her stepping back and I was waiting for her to keep going but she looked after the next step. I guess the youth has good judgement after all.

And I realize in the day of new media that these things have a place or nitch carved out already. So if it benefits photography in developing, then by all means go for it. I guess it saves asking a stranger to take an image. That seems to be a lost art now with the one exception. I was watching a young lady take a few shots and she asked me if I could do a few more with her iPhone. I did and then I asked her to take a shot of my wife and I. Which she had also asked for several times and while not ignoring her I was looking for the right spot and time.

Thank you stranger for taking a minute to snap an image of a great day in DC for my better half and I. Photo by Stranger with my old digital.

Thank you stranger for taking a minute to snap an image of a great day in DC for my better half and I.
Photo by Stranger with my old digital.

Just in case my camera strap obscures the view, my shirt says “Life is Good” And it certainly is. Because that person next to me gives me strength and confidence and love. You can’t ask anymore from anyone.

So while wandering around down there I was contemplating our dining options. It has been over a decade since visiting one of my old favorites. Georgia Browns on 15th street was the call. And boy was it a fine one. Great service, great food, quiet atmosphere and wonderful company.

I’m sure I’ll be back there again to sample some of the fine dishes but I think I found the best shrimp and grits dish anywhere. And a cherry sorbet to finish off the meal was a real treat. Eating in general is a real treat and when you sample a fine chef’s offering that is a special day.

We had an early diner and decided to head home after many miles of walking which was a treat in itself till I got out of bed this morning and realized I hadn’t walked that much in a bit. And fortunately the ride home was a fairly good one for a Friday so someone was looking out for us this day.

yeah, pretty colors Photo by Mike Hartley

yeah, pretty colors
Photo by Mike Hartley

More buds. Photo by Mike Hartley

More buds.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Clouds and Monument. Photo by Mike Hartley

Clouds and Monument.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And as these two young’ins can attest to. It was a day of love.

Seems like the trees weren't the only thing blossoming. Photo by Mike Hartley

Seems like the trees weren’t the only thing blossoming.
Photo by Mike Hartley

ok, last one, I promise. Photo by Mike Hartley

ok, last one, I promise.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So good luck to those of you braving the cooler temps and bigger crowds today. You have the sun at least. Have a great day all.


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A Thursday off was refreshing

Greeting and salutations. A wonderful day was had with family and friends. Maximizing life, one day at a time. I think it’s the best way to go about it. But boy is it easy to fall back into worrying about the small crap again. I’ve got to put in some safeguards for that just like I put one in today for another issue which I hope is a long way off. As we were going down the road an elderly driver was obviously having operator skill issues and really shouldn’t have been on the road. My daughter beat me to the punch and said there should be a test when people get older to make sure they have the ability to still drive. Then I said I agreed but if they don’t do that in my lifetime could she tell me if she ever saw my abilities get to the point where it wasn’t safe. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone else or someone I love, let alone myself. And while I love to drive and I love the independence it gives you, it’s not worth the risk.

Stealth Colt Photo by Mike Hartley

Stealth Colt
Photo by Mike Hartley

Did some shooting around DC last night but only had a few minutes and didn’t get much of anything. Of course even in the middle of the night you can find politics on any corner of this town. For instance, I did see the Donald outside the University Club on 16th street as seen below here. I believe he is the ass end of this beast.

Is that the rear of the Republican party or is that a portrait of the Donald. Photo by Mike Hartley

Is that the rear of the Republican party or is that a portrait of the Donald.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And then again I have to ask myself the same question this ticker sign displayed just around the block on 15th street which says “Why Hillary.” And that is a very good question also. And as a responsible citizen who always votes I’m going to be digging very deep about any candidate for what I like.

The ticker outside the Washington Post building on 15th street with a good question. Photo by Mike Hartley

The ticker outside the Washington Post building on 15th street with a good question.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And as is the norm in the town of smoke and mirrors. This establishment below seems lost. For I shot this picture on 15th street between K and L streets. For in this town (Washington DC) nobody seems to know where they are at.

G Street Food on the wrong street. Photo by Mike Hartley

G Street Food on the wrong street.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well being I had a shot at the Elephant, I guess I should give the other party equal time and space. You know this has got me thinking already. I’m beginning to wonder if this election will be the year everyone gets so disgusted with the process and polarizing talk and big business buying the candidates before they are even elected that there is either a major revolt and reform or its the year that even the invested people who always vote just throw their hands in the air and say its controlled by special interest and there isn’t a damn thing I can do to change it.

Hey, there's an ass outside the University Club on 16th street. Photo by Mike Hartley

Hey, there’s an ass outside the University Club on 16th street.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Washington is full of some of the nicest hotels in the world. I’ve never stayed here but rumor is its nice. The Jefferson on 16th street is below.

The Jefferson Hotel before dawn.  Photo by Mike Hartley

The Jefferson Hotel before dawn.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random thoughts from yesterday Thursday July 23rd 2015

  • Those you work with can elevate you or hold you down. And the sad fact is your boss has control over that situation because they do the hiring and firing.
  • If you take your health for granted it might just disappear.
  • Your brain should tell you who the genuine people are in life. So don’t ignore those signals.
  • Eating is a necessity, eating healthy is a choice.
  • I can see why comedians get so much joy from making others laugh. Because the times I can make friends and family laugh its a great feeling.


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Random DC

Just a few snaps around our Nations Capital I made while wandering around one Veterans Day. Expect to see a lot more images from here this year.


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Quote of the Day – boys of Summer

“It’s only 19 days till the opening of Spring Training for the boys of summer. So get out of those offices, pretend you’re King for a day. Take your Queen to a Knight game. The park is Rook around the corner. There is usually a Bishop around to kick off opening day with a prayer. And you have a few days to Pawn that old Junker for enough to buy tickets and hot dogs (of course with Ben’s Chili on them), some cold beverages, a hat and a ride home.  PLAY BALL?

Did I hear someone say next? Photo by Mike Hartley

Did I hear someone say next?
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Arlington National Cemetery on sunny summer day

Just some images from one of my trips visiting my family. Photos by Mike Hartley