THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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Surfs up again

By the time I finished editing, I had 89 photos so instead of piling them on here, I put a gallery up on my Zenfolio site, link below. The first 15 were posted yesterday. The first 2/3 of the shoot it was pretty dark out. Got some better shots as time went on. 6:45 am to 9 am between 33rd and 45th streets.

https://mikehartley.zenfolio.com/p582582449

I didn’t know you could pull waves along. Photo by Mike Hartley

Wishing I was smelling that salt air but nope, back to reality and the thought of work tonight. Sort of like doing a face plant.

But not all is lost. A refreshed spirit. A renewed sense of hope and inspiration. Time is taken to reflect and plan. A relaxed mind and attention to the body. Learning to let things run off my back. Seeing things closing in and putting some distance between them and me. Learning to turn on a dime when called for instead of a straight path. Being mentally strong, taking a shot, and still coming out upright. Not letting highs and lows affect the focus.

Surfing has a lot in common with life. Maybe I should try it when this shoulder heals or is fixed.

Actually, I shot these on the morning of July 9th. I got up early to do 2 things. I wanted to see what damage that tropical storm had done overnight and I wanted a couple of minutes of solitude on the beach. I was thinking about my Dad who passed 55 years ago this day. I told my daughter I would be back in 30 minutes when I left. The sun had risen but you couldn’t tell with the heavy cloud cover.

I like the water and I believe my Dad loved it. He was a career Navy man till his medical discharge. A veteran of WWII in the Pacific on a Destroyer. Also a Korean vet and Operation Deep Freeze Task Force 43. I wish I had a chance to know the man much better and get his experience and wisdom, I hope he is proud of me.

I also know my father-in-law loved the beach. Also former military.

I was stunned by the crowd on the beach so I hung back in the sand for a few moments because I was having trouble with my composure thinking of my father and my recently passed in-laws. But as a few guys with boards passed by I heard their excitement and chuckled to myself. So I wiped a tear from my eye and proceeded down to the water where it was thriving with people much earlier than normal.

I’ve been getting in the habit of carrying my camera with me all the time now and using it more. I had thrown it over my neck when I went out just in case of dramatic damage from the winds. But I soon discovered a unique day. The winds were blowing offshore for a change of pace. The water was alive with hundreds of surfers. A very friendly group of people. Several came up and asked if I would be posting pictures. I told them my blog name and they also suggested a Facebook group called Ocean City Maryland Surfing so added them there also.

I completely lost track of time and 2 hours later I had a ton of images. I had felt as gloomy as the skies that morning when I touched the sand. As I walked off it the sun was shining through and my spirits were positive. Just one of the many times in life I feel like someone who’s passed is looking out for me. I could have easily gone back to bed in sadness, or just sat on the balcony and missed some great action in the water and interactions with friendly surfers. Maybe someone got my backside out there for a purpose.

Have a great day all.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • A cold Coke in a glass bottle always taste much better.
  • Only a few more years tilll every day is a vacation day.
  • Time to remove the beach unintentionally bright back from the shore from the SUV.
  • I think I’ll schedule a day off for a day trip to the beach soon in the convertible.


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Surfing OC

Went out this morning and caught a few waves. Well more accurately I caught some people on waves, I was onshore with the camera. It was so overcast early when the waves were good I didn’t get the sharpness I had hoped for. That and my slow lens and lack of skills kept things less than optimal. I’ll add more excuses later with the next batch.

I’ve got dozens more to edit and will post some of the better ones later today. I asked to join the OC Facebook site today so I’ll post some there if they accept my membership.

I learned surfers are a friendly bunch of people. I learned both old and young can surf. I learned there is some good from strong storms. But I also know that with a torn shoulder muscle I’m not strong enough to swing in that mess.

Have a good afternoon all.


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It’s going to be HOT

Here in the northeast, it’s HOT. My favorite season and I can take it. But I’m smart enough (finally) to be careful with the heat. I just read this morning that it was the hottest June on record in North America. To my liking but disconcerting still at the same time.

Water is needed on a day like today. Photo by Mike Hartley

Speaking of hot, it’s so nice to go out to eat and get a hot meal from the kitchen on plates instead of carry-out plastic. To have someone wait on you and take the order and bring you a drink. All the things we took for granted for so long no longer are. But for how long before we start to think we did before the pandemic.

I for one won’t forget that and hopefully, we won’t have to experience that again. Actually, I’m thankful for every meal I have be it being served to me, or carry-out or fixing it ourselves. So many people without the ability to eat well or regularly. This reminds me it’s time for a donation to the Maryland food bank.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Children are like learning sponges.
  • Weather comes and comes, whether you like it or not.
  • Ah the first tropical storm of the season, Free car wash.
  • I haven’t met a nap I haven’t liked.


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Station Break

Sorry about the absence but I took a couple of days for some outside work, a grandchild and also some fun. I get to see my granddaughter once a week and I can’t tell you the recharge that gives me. I also got time to spend with my closest friends and their better halves on beautiful Kent Island yesterday. Days like that have been a long time in coming. It’s like a sign of returning to the past times that made life special.

It also begins a new chapter in our lives. One couple is retiring in short order and is a bit apprehensive. One couple just got what I think will be their forever home and I’m so happy for them except it does change one dynamic. We all have lived fairly close to each other for decades. And by we, I mean my best friends. (except for our brother in Florida). And when I say close 10-20 minutes max. Now we have over an hour’s ride to one of the group. But things like that don’t stop us. We will just have to plan better and adjust. We always do.

The more I ride bicycles on the flatlands of the Eastern Shore the more I like it. I’ve always enjoyed riding bikes. From my days when I could first ride and then having a paper route, and to riding to a real job in high school just before I got my own 4 wheels. Riding in Howard County used to be fun when I was much younger. Traffic now prevents the kind of freedom and you either have to cart your bikes to areas that are also getting increasingly crowded.

Riding a bike around a coastal town or boardwalk and along a bay are some of the most relaxing and enjoyable experiences. It’s the beautiful views, sounds, and smells. It’s peacefulness, mostly found in the offseason but you can also get it in season if you’re up early or late at night. But yesterday the 10-mile jaunt to the south end of the island was great.

The more I go across the bridge the more it feels like another world. And by a bridge, I mean this span below. It’s just a more relaxed life across the bridge.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I feel like I’m using each day better.
  • The smell of salt air is refreshing.
  • If you both appreciate your significant other more each day, life is easy.
  • This pollen season seems heavier than some past. Maybe because it’s been so dry this month.


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Little time but productive

That rainy day allowed for some good sleeping yesterday. Longest I’ve been out in a while. And even though I rose late, I remembered it was a Giving Day for the Red Cross and American Cancer Society. So I pried my wallet open and gave some to each. They were doing a matching funds day. So the day was a success before the workday even started.

My best days are always when I can help someone else. Giving money is the least of them. Not everyone can afford to, but everyone has time. The giving of time is the most precious gift of all. Well, I guess blood and organ donation might be up there also. But I need to do better with my time in helping others.

Anyway it felt good to help a bit.

Of course, I could not let the day pass without acknowledging that it is Maryland Day. Too bad all the events were this past weekend according to this Maryland link. Well, the state doesn’t have a corner on the market for celebrations and events. I can have my own because I love this state. Plus it’s the start of my weekend so let the party begin.

Ocean City Maryland Beach and Parasail Photo by Mike Hartley

Yes, it’s probably going to be expensive to retire here. Yes, it’s way too crowded now. Yes, we have problems like every other state. But we have Maryland blue crabs and Old Bay seasoning and a great flag to start with. We have some really cool highways if you like driving at 3am. Otherwise, we have a lot of parking lots.

Just some sun and the two most important flags to me. Photo by Mike Hartley

We have some great people and some idiots. We have oceans and mountains and bays, rivers and lakes. We have history and historic sights. We have all 4 seasons. There are big cities and large farms. Beautiful state parks to bustling industry. Anyway, I like it despite its few flaws.

I’ve finished the workday and caught a few ZZZ’s, it’s time to shower and throw on my Maryland tee shirt and hat and kick off the festivities.

Oh, I can’t go without mentioning the Lady Terps in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. That is one well-coached and well-run program and we are lucky to have the consistency and excellence they have shown. And I think they have a great chance of going all the way. I go to Maryland games with my Son. Maybe I should start taking my Daughter to see the Lady Terps next year. I can’t wait to get back in that stadium and hear the roar and see the Maryland flag come down through the stands. of the student section.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • If a majority of people hate having to cut grass why do we buy so many products to make it grow more?
  • An old friend just retired. I’m jealous.
  • I’m also dreading the day if I ever have to return to the office.
  • I used to enjoy the sound of a clock ticking. Not so much as I age now.
  • The search for a shot begins.


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Patience

It was a good morning to catch up on some rest so that is what I did on Thursday. Friday was a burl. Now starts another weekend that I’m both looking forward to and apprehensive about. So I’m going to hope for the best.

You really didn’t say that did you? Photo by Mike Hartley

Patience – So I’m relaxed when I got up the other day and then I saw Governor Hogan said he wants schools open on March 1st. But I thought I heard him say last week how difficult it was to get the needed doses of vaccine and getting them to the people when they were in hand. And we are in phase 1 right? I thought it was going to be late summer at best before 75-80% of the people had the vaccine. So for the sake of having the kids in school for 3 months and not having to listen to some parent’s bitch, you’re going to risk more sickness and death.

I’m trying to be patient but I get these conflicting messages and I wonder about safety. Yes, I know all the reasons to get kids back in school. Yes, I know it has an impact on the economy complicating care/work. But what is a life worth? Be it a child, teacher, administrator, bus driver, cafeteria server, what cost are you willing to pay personally. I have two children who are teachers. I hope both get their vaccine and second shot in time but what if that doesn’t happen? Neither has happened to date. I’m sure I don’t want the Gov playing Russian roulette with my children and their family’s health.

He says there is no public health reason for schools not to reopen. And he sounds like he’s going to be a hardass about it. Well, that kind of pushes a few of my buttons so let’s rock. Let me ask you something Gov, your stats don’t back up your statements of no risk. Either that or the logic in the spring was all F’ed up or now you have a different set of standards. We are averaging double the number of cases we had in the spring and the number of deaths per day as of today and the highest peaks in May is only slightly lower than the spring 43 to 56 per day average. Not to mention the more contagious form of the Virus now starting to circulate in this country and has been found in Maryland. So who’s backside did you pull that statement of no public health reason for schools not to reopen from? Really I’d like to know because both of you need to be rethinking threatening people like this.

And let me give you something to ponder Gov. If you do pull this off and someone or many people pass, who do you think will be blamed for these deaths? And who do you think will be held accountable? I know the answer to those questions and if you think the answer is someone else, think again. And if you’re just grandstanding for a bunch of parents who march in Annapolis, then shame on you also.

Governor, in my opinion, you would have been smarter to say “Obviously we are looking at schools and having kids and teachers back in them asap. We are assessing this week by week along with the risk and possible phased plans. But it all depends on the risk to the community, availability of the vaccine, and our ability to prepare the facilities. We will keep you updated weekly with our findings and reasonings because the situation fluctuates so fast we have to be responding the same way. All school systems or communities’ availability of the vaccine might not be equal. The virus has mutated and new risks are coming to light that also has to factor in. To base decisions off one week’s statistics and then have a spike and have to shut down doesn’t make any sense. We are working with the facilities to make sure they can be maintained safely. We are working with the teachers union on protocols and safety and guidelines. We are making sure everyone from the person serving your child a meal or cleaning the school to the bus driver and everyone in between has been fully vaccinated. Also, it has not been determined even if you are vaccinated that you can’t carry the virus so it is important even when the return to school facilities happens that safety protocols in place are still followed. Obviously, I have no control over individual county’s school systems but as the Governor of the state of Maryland, we are deploying all resources in helping communities best determine when schools open safely with as much information and financial support needed. Thank you for your patience.”

But NOOOOO, you start with threats. For someone who does a lot of things right, when you screw up you don’t fool around. Of course the same can be said about me, so we are bedfellows who don’t use our best judgment from time to time.

Good luck with your next decision/action. Remember, live and learn.


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Nice start to the week

Vacations don’t have to be exotic locals to be great. Not that we don’t have a lot of exotic locals here in the great state of Maryland, we do and the Eastern shore is one of them.

And when in Rome, eat like the Romans. So I had a crabcake sandwich for lunch in the middle of our walk around the town in St Michaels yesterday.

Crabcake from Foxy’s Harbor Grille in St Michaels MD. Photo by Mike Hartley

The whole town was hoping for a Monday. And with the weather in the mid-’90s and humid, it was a day I thought might be quiet. And it was probably quiet compared to a weekend.

Was a little crowded at the Crab Claw. Photo by Mike Hartley

This is one of the things I like about small towns. You can ride bikes around and really see the place and not get run over. That is what I love about Bethany Beach in September and October.

The way to get around town. Photo by Mike Hartley

Of course if you can be pushed around there is nothing wrong with that mode of transport also.

A town for both young and old. I’ll have to stop at the brewery and winery they have there next time. Photo by Mike Hartley

I look at the shot above and remember the day we would push our own children around. Time has passed so fast. Now we push grandchildren.

We were looking for benches in the shade. Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking out over the water while having a nice lunch with the love of your life can make any day.

I never get tired of water. I do get tired in water though. Photo by Mike Hartley

On the way to St Michael’s on Rt 33, we saw this cast of characters below saying Thanks for the Memories and Farewell. Of course, I had to come home and look up what it was related to and found this Nugget about it.

Roadside Theater. Photo by Mike Hartley

So after the fun of yesterday today it was back to the home projects on Tuesday. Much was accomplished. I hope to get out early Wednesday morning before daylight and grab some night photography and some early morning shots.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There is a big difference in a push and riding mower on a hot day.
  • Comedians are funny but they don’t replace laughs with friends.
  • Time for a ride at night with the top down.


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Looking for it again

It seems like forever that I’ve seen this view. I can’t wait to see it again. A lot of people don’t like driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It is rather long and tall. I guess practice makes perfect. I remember riding my motorcycle over it and that open mesh part at the highest point where you could look straight down 186 feet through the metal grate and see the water. Of course, I would try to stay off that because it gave a wobble to the bike.

Video by Mike Hartley

I can sense the morning coming up that I see a nice weather report and I just say screw it all and throw a beach towel and sunglasses in the car and head east. Just doing that reminds me of my youth. I hope I never lose that desire.


Instead of some shooting today I worked on getting a small studio set up in my basement. But I did run across an image from last week that I liked.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • There are few things as encouraging as seeing someone close to you getting better physically and mentally day by day.
  • With Arlington National Cemetery closed it feels significantly different than when I’ve visited in the past. And I kind of like it that way but wouldn’t deny the country the opportunity to visit when this is over.
  • This virus illustrates how lazy, selfish, and stupid this country can be.


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My time

I think I figured out why I can’t sleep. I can’t wait till I get to wake up each day. Early mornings and late nights are mostly my time. I never thought about that before but it’s nice to start and end a day that way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a loaner. I have a great number of people in between those times.

Give me sunrise, give me sunset. And another day to enjoy them again. Photo by Mike Hartley

And I enjoy people greatly but I also like my time. Having a few minutes to create or just veg on the couch. Maybe a quick read or jot down a few ideas. Maybe clean the workroom or office a bit. Maybe make another print after changing inks again. Or pick up the camera for a few frames.

When I don’t get my time, I get out of sorts. Yes, usually I make the decision to sacrifice it for one reason or another, some good and some poor. But I’m finding those few minutes or an hour or two can make a huge difference. I’m thinking of slowing down and not sacrificing them as much in the coming days.

The mental health benefits are too great to ignore. Just like I’ve come to realize a good night’s sleep is worth its weight in gold. Another reason I’m so poor. But I’m working on these things.


Grief – I’m watching people go through it, and experienced some myself. I’m amazed at the strength of my mother-in-law. I’m also touched by the depth of her hurt. They say losing a child is the most painful event, but losing your lifelong partner/husband of almost 7 decades has to be a close second. I’m amazed at the strength and resiliency of my better half in dealing with both the loss and becoming a caregiver. I was impressed by how well most of the family pulled together.

The hurt sometimes lasts forever for some. Yes, you can also move on but there is a missing part of you. Those shared memories that only you have now. That special person missing to sometimes recall them and smile or laugh or cry upon hearing again.

As I get older myself, sometimes I sit back now and just listen intently to a best friend tell one of the many stories of our past. One we have probably shared many times before. And now I take it in, put it in a memory bank so if one day I’m recalling that story and nobody else is around that remembers it, I’ll replay the glory and zest my best friends tell it with now. But I’ll have to imagine the wink or laugh or shot to the gut or back of the head if I tell it right or mess any part of it up.


Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I have so many lists I need a directory for them.
  • We can change, we prove it to ourselves all the time. It’s just taking those final steps after that long walk.
  • One day I will prove time moves faster on days off.
  • United we stand said no one at the bar.
  • You can love as much as your heart can give. Just try it, you will be surprised how deep that well is.


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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.


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A weekend and a lifetime in Maryland

Hey its mid summer, what do we do in Maryland? We eat crabs and lots of them. One of my favorites meals prepared many ways, all of which are satisfying. From sitting at a picnic table with newspapers as the tablecloth and a pile of fresh crustaceans in front of you to maybe a crab imperial or crabcake or stuffed shrimp or maybe a crab scampi. Of course don’t forget the soft shell options.

 

Crabs everywhere, even 8 foot ones on walls.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well of course that cost money, and that is why we work. But my work week is done and I’m feeling better after getting dehydrated in the sun this afternoon. I think a late night drive might be in order. Maybe some attempts at night shots. I did take the tripod upstairs earlier.

I read today where Maryland is ranked the 48 worst state to retire in by this site. Well here are my short feelings about that. Yeah cost of living is through the roof. Yeah its on the wrong side of crime on average. The highest ranking we got in any category was in weather and that was ranked 20th.

I almost painted a 4 on one butt cheek and a 8 on the other to take a picture and send to them, but then paused and calmed down. Lived here all my life and I love it. I will most likely pass here if my children and friends are still here. And those two look like pretty strong bets. You get all 4 seasons here but not usually extremes at any. If you live mid state (and its a small one if you haven’t looked at a map) you can be at the ocean or mountains in less than 3 hours. You have the Chesapeake Bay (one of the most beautiful waterways in the world). You have cities and rural areas.

You have one of the best Atlantic beaches. Lakes and waterways. Hunting and fishing in any direction. You’re a stones throw from the Nations Capital and all the wonderful sights there. Or maybe the Civil war battlefields at Antietam or just across the state line in Gettysburg.

You have some of the best schools in the country along with some of the worst ones. Work is plentiful if you want it. Or if you don’t you can snow ski or water ski in the same state. Lets see you pull that off Florida.

Yes it has changed. It used to be a much more friendly state. It used to be more of a blue-collar state but government and tech have boomed here so it’s a lot more white-collar now. It’s also far more diverse than it used to be and you see people struggle with it.

The worst plague on it seems to be the explosion of people and endless development. Infrastructure isn’t keeping pace and never really did in the last 5 decades I’ve been observing it. The endless traffic causes a lot of hostility. But then on the flip side if you’re not opposed to some late night rides you have some of the best roads around.

It’s a great sports state. Tons of very good college and pro teams within a short drive to support. Culture galore (obviously I haven’t explored that too well). I do know there is a fairly high degree of intelligent people here. There are also no shortage of selfish self focused folk also. But I meet far better than worse.

I love the Maryland flag. But all that stuff, except for the part about family and friends being here is the only one that matters. Yeah I could sell my home for a nice profit, I can take my very small pension and miniscule savings and social security to another state when its time to retire and make things stretch further. But then I would be dead from sadness in short order.

I know nothing in my own family and friends will ever stay exactly the same. But I kind of hope it does in terms of our locations. And that is here in Maryland and I’ll be glad to retire here. I mean once I don’t have to drive in and out of DC each day life will be a piece of cake. As in crabcakes with OLD BAY. To everyone else. I’m sorry, we would be #1 if we were including seafood in the rankings. But its always #1 in this household.


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No day, for props up

Some days you just have to say #&@%*!$  it and go for it. Today was one of those days. A ride with the top down to St Michael’s and my better half making my passenger seat happy. Everything was perfect, the weather, the food, the town, the ride down, the people, the ice cream, the pet store gifts and of course my company. One of those days that recharge your batteries. Yeah it was just a quick visit but its great to have the ability to be out and about and just enjoying a simple day with the simple pleasures of life and the beauty nature and people provide.

Put those props in the water.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Either this guy doesn’t have a flexible job or gas money because if those were my trio of power I think they would be getting some exercise today. You don’t get many better days weather wise. Of course the winds were up later in the day and the white caps were out on the bay on the return trip. We had a wonderful lunch at The Lighthouse and our server Kim was great.

Great meal, great service.
Photo by Mike Hartley

A view of the Lighthouse restaurant across the harbor. I would have taken a picture of the lobster tempura or the crab cake but I inhaled and they were gone. And no I don’t treat myself like that all the time. But its a special weekend.

We ate under those outside umbrellas today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Nothing like being near a body of water when mother nature is happy. Just a wonderful sight. And for those who work the water its a fine day indeed between the tough ones that they still work in.

Cleaning up from a days work on the water.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, better get moving. The fun of the day was had. Time for some chores. On second thought, on with the fun.

Nice spirit.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Take the wheel Scotty, I’m going for a slice of pizza.

Nice Wood
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Sizzling Saturday

As I sat and watched the morning news about the heat index being between 110-115 degrees I wondered how long the troops (family) would hold up today. Hell I should be worried about myself. The heat really seems to be getting to me like never before. I’ve always handled hot weather really well. So I’m going to summon that old spirit and even carry around that monster camera and try to get some good shots today.

The flag over the USS Constellation in the Inner Harbor Baltimore. Photo by Mike Hartley

The flag over the USS Constellation in the Inner Harbor Baltimore.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I think the key today is not staying out in it for prolonged periods. If we keep watered and ducking in and out of shops we will be fine. Sweaty but fine. So let the adventure begin. Its our summer family outing before our two teachers return to work next week. As you can see some opted for a different strategy.

Father and son in the fountain. Photo by Mike Hartley

Father and son twirling in the fountain.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Actually we fared very well with the exception of having our IMAX movie plans thwarted. We walked through the A/C of Harbor place’s. Had a Great lunch at Rusty Scupper and then a trip up to the 27th floor of the World Trade Center “top of the world” observation level. Of course Ice Cream was needed after this and then some more shopping.

It was a wise move to take breaks today. Photo by Mike Hartley

It was a wise move to take breaks today.
Photo by Mike Hartley

All I know is that it was a wonderful day with my children. I’m sorry my Son in-law couldn’t make it due to illness. We missed you. But as the summer season nears it’s close, my Daughter reminded me what a wonderful one its been. And it has been great. One that I will cherish and remember. And it’s not over yet so we have some time to crank up some more good memories.

Sweating with the oldies. Well the young were perspiring also. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sweating with the oldies. Well the young were perspiring also.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But first some photo editing of the rest of the day’s shooting and then out to practice some night shots this evening if sleep doesn’t get in the way. Here’s hoping your Saturday was a great one like ours.

I'm always 100% behind my family. Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m always 100% behind my family.
Photo by Mike Hartley

 

  • randomthoughts9-5 – warm, warmer, warmest.
  • I hate wasting time on sleep but it’s so needed.
  • Rainbow sherbert on a hot day.
  • I will rise early on Sunday. At least that is the plan now.
  • I have to remember I’m not using film and click away.
  • Funny how some days turn out.


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First of many trips to the town of Westminster

With my daughter and her husband now living in Westminster Maryland I’m sure you will be seeing some images from this town more often. This place is huge compared to what I remembered. The college has changed its name from when I grew up but Main Street looks like I remembered but in better shape.

That is a cloud behind the Sherwood Distillery Smokestack Photo by Mike Hartley

That is a cloud behind the Sherwood Distillery Smokestack
Photo by Mike Hartley

We dined at a wonderful spot called Rafaels and had a great lunch last week. We walked out saying how good our service was in addition to the food. I wish I had gotten our waitress name so I could compliment her.

Westminster MD Photo by Mike Hartley

Westminster MD
Photo by Mike Hartley

So time to create a new tag and category. Or I guess I could just add it to the Maryland file. Hopefully I’ll have some random thoughts later to share. Haven’t been feeling myself the last 2 days. Probably the heat.

Just in case you forgot where you were. Photo by Mike Hartley

Just in case you forgot where you were.
Photo by Mike Hartley


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A/C or outside seating

We choose A/C, as this couple did yesterday to eat and drink. And it was the right choice even though the tables had umbrella’s and the shade had come over the dockside dining at Pusser’s, it was still hot as hell out there. Of course there were more than a few hearty soles outside. It was good to put in a few miles walking around town with my daughter. In and out of shops and down to the Market House for Storm Bros for Icee’s and Ice Cream.

Main Street Annapolis. Photo by Mike Hartley

Main Street Annapolis.
Photo by Mike Hartley

By the way it was a fine meal at Pusser’s. I will be out and about trying to squeeze in some more photos today because it’s a real treat for me to try my hand at this art. I’m so pissed at myself for not starting earlier in life.

Looking down Main St in Annapolis. Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking down Main St in Annapolis.
Photo by Mike Hartley

One would think it was cooler by the water. Only because of the breeze but it wasn’t enough. But nothing mattered to me because nothing can touch a day with your children.

Along Main Street. Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Main Street.
Photo by Mike Hartley

My sweet tooth was itching something bad but I resisted. I find myself regretting that decision today. Next opportunity I’ll utter that phrase “Resistance is FUTILE” to myself.

Sweets Photo by Mike Hartley

Sweets
Photo by Mike Hartley

For those about to BAKE.

About to be dough. Photo by Mike Hartley

About to be dough.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I used to love candy apples when I was younger.

I love these but I like keeping my teeth a bit longer. Photo by Mike Hartley

I love these but I like keeping my teeth a bit longer.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I can hear some 5-year-old yelling MOM when they see these.

The sign says it for me. Photo by Mike Hartley

The sign says it for me.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Nothing like a good sky and the flag.

Good to see the disabled enjoying our state capital. Photo by Mike Hartley

Good to see the disabled enjoying our state capital.
Photo by Mike Hartley

An old staple of town.

Awning at Midleton Tavern. Photo by Mike Hartley

Awning at Middleton Tavern.
Photo by Mike Hartley

As the summer sails away.

Mast Photo by Mike Hartley

Mast
Photo by Mike Hartley

Young and in love it appeared.

Hearts beating Photo by Mike Hartley

Hearts beating
Photo by Mike Hartley

Nice toys.

Just a little to big for me. Photo by Mike Hartley

Just a little to big for me.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I promise more side street shots the next visit.

Love the color in this town. Photo by Mike Hartley

Love the color in this town.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Maybe next time I’ll eat outside.

Save me a seat. Photo by Mike Hartley

Save me a seat.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Thanks for a wonderful day.


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Fog

Actually I think they call it “marine fog”, anyway it rolled into Ocean City yesterday morning just after sunrise. I had gone out to take a few shots and suddenly it was soup. I did enjoy the ride with the top down and tunes on just slowly tooling around town. Dreaming a bit of owning a beach place someday by checking homes for sale as I cruised. Watching out for birds on the bay which seem to be all hunkered down with the limited flight distance.

Sun has been up for an hour but its difficult to see from one light to the next. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sun has been up for an hour but its difficult to see from one light to the next.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Watching joggers or bike riders, the occasional Dude crossing the street with surfboard in his hand. I love beach towns. I worry greatly about them if sea level predictions are correct. And I’ve been going along with the other millions of visitors that hit the Maryland and Delaware shores each year enjoying this life. It would be a tragic loss.

Which way to the fish? Photo by Mike Hartley

Which way to the fish?
Photo by Mike Hartley

There is nothing like the beach. To me climbing a mountain is nuts. Yeah you got a view I can’t get, but how long you going to stay there? But the journey and cool temps and thin air and most importantly, lack of lodging makes it something that will never cross my list. Yes I get the accomplishment thing. But give me the sun/sand a good hotel or beach house to rent and I’m in heaven.

Bird activity has been grounded this morning. Photo by Mike Hartley

Bird activity has been grounded this morning.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I bet this Sunday morning it was great down there. A beautiful sunrise, low humidity and breeze to keep it clear and brisk. But I learned on Saturday morning that there was much to appreciate. I wish I lifted my camera a bit more that morning but was doing some mental refreshing also.


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Lunch view

I think I still may be relaxed from this lunch and view on Friday. The company of my better half, the outside dining, the view and comfortable temperatures made it a wonderful experience. We were heading to the Chart House to treat ourselves for some reason or another but that wasn’t open for lunch.

View from Carroll Creek Cafe in Annapolis. Photo by Mike Hartley

View from Carroll Creek Cafe in Annapolis.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So as we drove down we saw another restaurant as we crossed the bridge called Carrol’s Creek Cafe. So we backtracked from the Chart House parking lot to a pay lot (they will stamp your ticket 2 1/2 hrs) so do park there. It was a beautiful day and we wanted to sit outside where everyone else was. Sure enough a table for two right on the railing with a great view.

I need a boat to walk to. Photo by Mike Hartley

I need a boat to walk to.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We are very lucky and blessed to be able to do this once in a while. Yes its a lot of hard work and has been for decades but it is worth every bit of sweat when we can have a nice lunch and a day walking around town. Yeah we shopped but I think we got a coke and an iced coffee.

6th Street and Comprimize Ave. Photo by Mike Hartley

6th Street and Compromise Ave.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Don’t get me wrong. There is a ton of things I would buy in this town. There are stores I even like to go in and me and the word stores are like oil and water. They don’t mix well. And I’m dying to stay a night or two at that new Westin Hotel. I might save that for an off-season visit being they have an indoor heated pool.

Ready for sail class along Spa Creek. Photo by Mike Hartley

Ready for a sail class along Spa Creek.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Whenever I’m in this town I find something new to shoot. Even spots I have shot before seem to be fresh each time I go. Maybe its a reflection or shadow or the constant change of people. Maybe the change of season. But I find it endless when it comes to a great place to photograph.

As the sign says. Photo by Mike Hartley

As the sign says.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So what will be my adventure this coming week? Maybe a trip across the bridge. Or should I head West. I’ve been thinking of visiting the Antietam Area and that Civil War battlefield. And as I see by visiting that website that its our National Parks Service 100th Birthday this year. So get out an celebrate our National Treasures.

With the weather in the 80's this coming week I'm sure you will see more of these with sails up than docked. Photo by Mike Hartley

With the weather in the 80’s this coming week I’m sure you will see more of these with sails up than docked.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, another weekend down. Time to prepare for the next one.


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Rocky Gap MD – WWWP5K challenge

On Monday 10/26 we completed the WWWP 5K challenge. My wife and I hiked the Lakeside Loop trail at Rocky Gap state park. This 5.3 mile hike was certainly challenging. Walking on all those rocks and tree roots covered with leaves was a challenge itself not to come back with broken ankles.

Flight in fog. Photo by Mike Hartley

Flight in fog.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It was a wonderful hike but I walked too much that morning out shooting photographs. I woke that morning to a cool feel and when I looked out before sunrise I could see the fog rolling off the water. It was beautiful but obscured the color of the season.

But there were a few treasures out there that morning. One of them were our winged friends coming to life. Both geese and mallard ducks were taking their morning flight and searching for breakfast.

The mountains in the morning were just beginning to peak out with the sunrise but still partially covered by the mist from Lake Habeeb.

I bet I covered a few miles that morning even before thinking about the hike. I know it was too cool for the shorts I had on but walking briskly kept me warm for short burst.

Morning mist from Lake Habeeb. Photo by Mike Hartley

Morning mist from Lake Habeeb.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So while freezing my behind off I strolled over to the beach off the state park. I wandered around the Rocky Gap resort where we were staying and walked a few holes along the golf course on the south side of the lake.

It was a wonderful morning and just the exercise I needed to start my day and work up an appetite for the breakfast buffet we were going to later that morning.

I didn’t feel like I was doing too much. As a matter of fact I intended to do that Lakeside Loop trail twice that day but that thought was quickly dismissed upon returning from the first trip around it in the afternoon.

I was glad I got a chance to shoot both that morning and afternoon on the walk because Tuesday was pretty overcast and was just getting worse with rain on the way.

Fog over Lake Habeeb Photo by Mike Hartley

Fog over Lake Habeeb
Photo by Mike Hartley

I really should have done a few more miles in the morning because I don’t usually have this scenic view and weather to awe me where I’m at. So this was a treat despite the cool temps and lack of a good sunrise.

But my stomach took control and said get back to the room, wake up your better half and take me to the food distribution point. And as I have done too often in the past, I listened to that part of my body and cut the morning shoot off after an hour or two of wandering the area.

One thing I love about this place is the tranquility. I know it’s hoping during the summer season at the park but a weekday morning in fall it was quiet as could be which is what we were also looking for in a relaxing trip.

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Beach at Rocky Gap State Park and fog obscuring mountains around it. Photo by Mike Hartley

When we started the walk it was pretty cool out still. I put some sweats on but by the end of the walk I was wishing I had shorts on. Also by the end of it my feet and shins were barking at me. No problem, a night of rest and I’m ready to go again.

Unfortunately we are no longer at that wonderful site. (Rocky Gap Resort and State Park which is just a few miles west of Flintstone Maryland). We took a few days to celebrate our 35th anniversary there, but are back to reality and the treadmill.

So instead of boring you with more words I’ll share some of the pictures from my afternoon stroll and sights we saw. I feel good now for having done that and I’m hoping I can keep a few good lengthy walks in my workout each week through the difficult winter season.

So I hope you enjoy the images of some of the paths, lake and wildlife.

 


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Friday’s return

Wow, took a few days to do some writing and sadly I didn’t keep up with my primary goal of posting here each day. So I have a lot of catching up to do here so let’s get rolling again. Went to Mt Airy for lunch and had a chance to snap a few frames. Been a decade or two since visiting old Main Street. I was such a beautiful day, I know I didn’t capture that feeling of 83 degrees with low humidity and a slight breeze. But let me tell you it was wonderful.

There was a breeze today but that wasn't what bent those walls. Photo by Mike Hartley

There was a breeze today but that wasn’t what bent those walls.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wasn’t a minute out of the parking lot after snapping the above shot when I looked over to a garage with a beautiful Chevelle SS that had a paint job that I won’t attempt to describe the color other than “stop in my tracks red.” I can’t figure if that is a 69 or 70 model. If my wife and I weren’t famished and on a mission to EAT, I would have wandered over and seen some of their work. I also saw what looked to be like a 71 Mach One pulled in front of the Chevelle. And outside across the street was a 69 Camaro. So my day was about complete. Only if I had the keys to one of them.

A beauty in the garage. Photo by Mike Hartley

A beauty in the garage.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Caution, school season again. Photo by Mike Hartley

Caution, school season again.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Just a general reminder. Schools start next week in Carroll County. Get ready so see a few of these going up and down Main Street. As traffic gets worse I see more and more people not watching out for stopped buses or emergency vehicles. Lets all take our time and respect the job these people do and keep everyone safe.

Well, as we got into the downtown area we decided on a place my wife had been to before and said was good. Well it was very good today with both food and service being top-notch. It was a sunny and nice day out so we tried outside dining. This worked out well and it was a wonderful dining experience. And obviously I was too hungry to snap a shot of the beautiful pan-fried scallops with angel hair pasta with a tomato basil creme sauce. A very tasty dish with the scallops cooked perfectly and a good number of them. The mozzarella caprese was also very good. My wife’s panini was very good I’m told. So overall it was a very good meal and our waiter was excellent. And we left him a very nice tip.

Time is a gift. Photo by Mike Hartley

Time is a gift.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This day also marked the return of my Fridays with my better half. Its my favorite day of the week because I get to spend it with her. I step aside during the summer months while her and my daughter do their summer adventures. But fall, winter and spring, she is mine. Sorry didn’t mean to gloat but I’m a lucky man. And time with my family and friends is living large in my mind.

Walking this town a sunny August day without breaking a sweat was a treat you don’t get many days in this month. I’m rediscovering exercise and it feels great. I think I’ll pull the cars back tomorrow afternoon and challenge my Son to a game of basketball.

But back to the town of Mt Airy Maryland. This place is an interesting contrast of old and new in terms of its homes and businesses. It’s so close by I’m going to have to spend some time out in this area seeing if I can find some gems to photograph.

As we walked up the hill to the north end of Main Street we came upon the Elementary School and boy was it packed for new student orientation and an open house. Looks like they get a good attendance for things at this school.

Vest Pocket Park Photo by Mike Hartley

Vest Pocket Park
Photo by Mike Hartley

Right next to this school is the Vest Pocket Park. A very apt name but a nice little spot in a nice little town. I should have taken a break here but he way back to town was downhill at that point so we walked on.

This place reminds me a lot of the early Howard County grown spurt. Of course its been going on for some time here judging by the strip malls and big box stores. But you can still drive through areas that make you feel it was 40-50 years ago.

As we strolled back into town I shot a few more porches and some businesses that I’ve put below in a gallery.

And just to confirm I avoided going in the ice cream stores. It was hard, I looked two or three times as we passed them.

Sorry to bore you with the verbiage but I’m trying to see if I can do more with layout instead of the standard display I’ve had before. A few more shots around town.

 

 

 


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Heading out to the Bay

As I was taking this photo and a few others yesterday I got to thinking about a departed friend. One who shared his boat and time on the water with his friends. I think I might have overlooked how much that activity would pulled us together. From an all day fishing trip to a happy hour at McCormick and Schmick’s, maybe pulled up along Pier 6 listening to whomever was performing that night. Sometimes a short boat ride out past Fort McHenry or sometimes sitting and laughing together just sitting in the marina.

Large and small, they all head out to the Chesapeake Bay.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Large and small, they all head out to the Chesapeake Bay.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We all miss this person for much more than the boating experience. He was one of our brothers. A close-knit group of friends that does include one set of actual brothers. So as I look out on the water or a spot we were pulled into at the Inner Harbor I think back to both times of laughter and fun, but realize the hole left by his absence.

So today I will remember him on the bridge of his boat, wheel in one hand, a beer by his side and that Yeah Buddy grin on his face. Here’s to a great weekend ahead Dan. I know you would be leading the charge to Head out to the Bay.


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Love All

I was trying to catch the reflection of the flag in the door as they were opening the Hard Rock Cafe in Baltimore this fine Friday. But I didn’t realize I had got the words “Love All” in the other half of the open door. It was such a good day I tried to practice what I had unknowingly caught in this picture. Actually at few times in this countries history, we did Love All. Maybe each of us can do our own little part to help it along again.

Reflection of the flag and buildings in the left side of the door and words Love All on the right side.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Reflection of the flag and buildings in the left side of the door and words Love All on the right side.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And to prove I did my best today, I didn’t T-Bone the idiot who ran a red light in Catonsville late this afternoon. I also found a pair of sunglasses on the ground in City Sports. I walked them up to the front counter and told the clerk I had just found these. The guy at the counter who he just finished checking out looked up and said they were his. About 10 minutes later a couple who was in town for a wedding asked what they could do in a few hours at the Inner Harbor so I gave them some options. I held doors for people. I tipped well. I nodded hello to total strangers after making eye contact. I said “sorry” when I accidentally cut someone off. I held the elevator for people.

I also helped revitalize the local economy by taking my family out to lunch at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. A new stop for us and it was very good. Great food and service. The ladies did their part and did some shopping. I have no idea what they purchased but I saw bags.  And it looks like from these other ladies on the street below, we weren’t alone.

Harbor East Shoppers Photo by Mike Hartley

Harbor East Shoppers
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I will revel in the sunshine and breeze we were given today. And most importantly the time with family and the smiles we shared. And I got to sneak in a fair amount of shooting so I’m going to go edit away. I still haven’t finished processing all the Annapolis shots from yesterday. It’s a nice problem to have. Usually its the lack of shooting that is the problem. Such a nice change of pace to have some time for it.


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Annapolis with my Daughter

Each summer while my daughter is on break from being a teacher we spend a day or two together during the summer to just wander and talk, eat and explore, shop and sit and generally enjoy each others company and catch up just the two of us. Yesterday we picked Annapolis MD. There is nothing more gratifying to have your children want to spend time with you. There are few things better in life than to see your children happy. There are few better things than when they grow into young adults and they display traits and skills your proud of.

So below is just a few shots I got while wandering the town. What a wonderful day. Thank you Melissa.


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Sykesville

Had a nice dinner at Baldwin Station in Sykesville last night. Compensated for the Crème brûlée we shared for desert by taking a walk which allowed me to snap a few frames. The sun had gone below the hills surrounding Main St. for all shots but the one with the shadow on the stairs. Going to have to go back when the light is better. Will give me an excuse to go back and try Beck’s also.


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More images of Frederick MD

Had a great afternoon on Friday wandering the town. Was just the relaxing time I needed. Snapped a few images while my other half was shopping and after a great lunch at the Tasting Room. Really love the feel and seeing all the storefronts filled and doing a brisk business. Plus there is a lot more to this area that I have yet to explore and find besides the downtown area.

Think I’ll expand my state shooting more westward this year. Lots of beauty in the hilly part of Maryland.

 


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Faces in Frederick MD from Friday afternoon

Well should say faces and backs. The first gentleman just caught my eye as I was waiting to cross the street and just happened to look to my back left. His concentration and the great reflection of him in the glass makes it look like he is looking through that door he is painting.

The couple walking away, hand in hand was my subject but had to hurry before jogger cut in front of them.

The two outdoor dinning shots were too colorful to pass up.

My favorites are the people on the bench and couple with the dog and grandparents with grandson.

And I can’t leave out the working man and woman. Hence the stone masons and painters.

I’m trying to force myself to do more people photography. I’m overcoming a great anxiety about invading people s privacy.  I know anything goes in public but there are still limits and courtesy’s one should extend. I hope not to catch people in unflattering ways. There are enough Wal-Mart photographers in the world.

 


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Yeah, I’m a Fan

Go TERPS Photo by Mike Hartley

Go TERPS
Photo by Mike Hartley

OK, my favorite sport is College Basketball hands down. And my favorite team always has been the Maryland Terrapins or just TERPS. Started out going to a few games when I was 11 or 12 years old. My first memory is a player called Will Hetzel and the way he could score. I believe Lefty (Charles Driesell) came the next year and proclaimed he was going to make the University of Maryland the UCLA of the East.

The Lefthander Photo by Mike Hartley

The left-hander
Photo by Mike Hartley

I loved it, bravado right out of the gate. And why not set your goals high. I was addicted right from the start. That win in 1971 (the slow down game) that was televised and went into overtime and Maryland had upset the #2 school in the country. I watched on a small B&W set. I was so pumped after that game I couldn’t sleep. The excitement the basketball program generates is a special thing.

Cole Field House was a special place. I enjoyed many a game there and continue to go to a few games a year at the Comcast Center and religiously watch every televised game even if I have to record them. I got my son and his fiance tickets to the Indiana game this year and they loved it. So I hope the family tradition I started carries on for years with my family following Da TERPS.

This year has been a special one. After a missing the NCAA’s the last 4-5 years, we are in and in a big way with a nice mix of a key senior and junior and some exceptional freshman. I believe 4-5 players transferred after last year and I’m glad they did because the chemistry this group has is kind of special and it has come from the start. The only thing I’ve seen close to it is Kentucky and its abundance of talent blend together for the good of the team.

One thing for sure. This coming Monday will either be a day where my friends and I are very upbeat and looking forward to the coming weekend with a spring in our step and another party in the planning or one where a half hearted effort will be made to watch a few more games and the finals but it won’t be near the same excitement or interest.

I love all basketball but College is special. That time where young men develop and learn some great lessons. Most are taught tough lessons of how to handle defeat. Most are taught how to perform under pressure. Most are marking the end of a career and leaving something dear to them. It’s where you see family in the stands living and dying with every possession. And even the most stoic fathers have a lean or teeth clench or small expression that can be seen. And then there are the things that can’t be duplicated in any other time. A father coaching a son like with Georgia St. And even though their run is over, you can see and feel the happiness of that family.

So many thanks to a special team and a special year for all the fans who follow this team year after year.

Oh, and before I get negligent here, lets not forget the Maryland Women. They have a legit chance at a title themselves for a National Championship being a #1 seed this year. It’s a big day for the University of Maryland athletics.

Go TERPS


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Baltimore

Just some random clicks from past visit to Bmore. As this thaw continues they made me think ahead to being down there this summer again. I like how the clouds fill in for the sails on the Constellation. Hope to get out today and do some fresh shooting before the rain.

Sorry about the absence.


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Annapolis Maryland 2

Found some more items from a trip to the State Capital a while back. Can’t wait till it’s this warm again. I might have to travel down there and photograph the ice which has frozen a lot of the Bay before the temps do change though. Got to go download some of the morning shooting.

Here is a link to a earlier set of pictures from Annapolis.


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Havre de Grace Maryland

Hope to get back to this small town this summer or fall and explore it much further. Nice little place to visit. People were very nice. Only spent a few hours one afternoon here in 2013, had a great lunch (right on the water) and it was a mild summer day. We hit a few shops and walked the town a little but didn’t get a chance but to scratch the surface.


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Chesapeake Bay Bridge Sunrise

Just ran across this old video of a few minutes of drive time in my vault of crap. It warmed me up a bit this morning thinking of seeing that sunrise on my way to the ocean. But being we have a snowstorm going on, I find myself wishing it was summer. Wishing I was off. Wishing I was headed to the beach. Then again, without shoveling, creating snow angels and snowmen or spending hours driving in snow and sleet to and from work, I wouldn’t appreciate summer.

And to be technically correct the bridges name is:  William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bay Bridge. Or as its more commonly known: DaBridge. For example: Can you believe it took me 2 hours just to get to DaBridge? or  DaBridge was backed up all the way to Easton. or  Can you believe what they raised the toll to on DaBridge?

While this was a nice trip over, my wife and I once drove over it at night in the middle of a thunderstorm. We got out of the car a few miles down the road on Rt 50 and looked at the hail damage it caused, hundreds of dimples in the body. But the high wind days are the worst. Especially if your on a bike. But the view is not one to be missed.


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Ocean City Maryland 2

The colder it gets here, the more I think of summer. It was 12 degrees in balmy Woodstock this morning. But 5-6 months from now my toes will be in the sand on the eastern shore of Maryland and all will be right with the world. And yes I’ll get busy doing some winter shooting the next few days but I’m building up the courage to go out in it.