Gorgeous Blooms

Blooms – Wheaton, Maryland

While I do have an extensive back catalog of older digital and 35mm film photographs that I share here, I break out my “big” digital camera on occasion when I want images that I still can’t create on the iPhone. Cell phone cameras have certainly come a long way in a very short period. It seems like just yesterday – actually early January 2007 – when the original iPhone was introduced. That was only 14-½ years ago! Granted, there were cell phone cameras prior to that date, but they captured images that were small, grainy, and generally lacking all the way around.

Cut to the cell phone cameras of today, and some are really giving the big cameras a run for their money. Where cell phone cameras are still lacking is natural-looking bokeh – the out-of-focus areas in a photo that are a function of image chip size and large lens apertures. However, the computational post-processing used by all cell phones cameras of today is making huge leaps in image quality and capability – so I feel that it’s just a matter of time before cell phone camera images equal or exceed what big cameras can take.


Photo info:
Flower blooms
Brookside Gardens
Wheaton, Maryland
July 2021
Voigtländer 65/2.0 APO Macro lens
Sony a7 III digital camera

Celebrating Our Declaration of Independence

Old Glory and the USS Constellation – Baltimore, Maryland

Living in Maryland, one is constantly reminded about its rich history and the crucial role the state has played at critical points throughout our nation’s history. Given the current highly-polarized political climate, it’s easy to simply dismiss Maryland as just a blue state that always votes liberal, but that doesn’t do justice to the incredible list of contributions that the state and her people have made over the past 389 years.

  • Founded in 1632 by a colonial charter, Maryland was one of the original Thirteen Colonies of England
  • In 1649, it passed the Act Concerning Religion, a law that helped inspire later legal protections for freedom of religion in the United States
  • It was active in the events leading up to and during the American Revolution
  • Four of its delegates signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776
  • In 1790, it ceded the land required for the creation of our nations capital, Washington, D.C.
  • During the War of 1812, Maryland bore the brunt of the British attacks – some 11 major battles, 63 skirmishes, and 86 raids over a period of 2-½ years
  • The Star-Spangled Banner – our national anthem – was written in 1814 by Frances Scott Key, a native from the state, during the the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
  • Although it was a slave state at the time, Maryland remained in the Union during the American Civil War and was considered pivotal during the conflict due to its strategic location

The lengthy list goes on.

Similarly, each state in our union – whether blue, red, or purple – has made significant contributions to our great nation as a whole. On this day of national celebration – the Fourth of July – we need to remember that we are all part of the same nation.

Together.

All of us.

No matter the race, gender, religion, or political persuasion of each of us as individuals – we are all Americans.


Photo info:
The USS Constellation at dock
The Inner Harbor
Baltimore, Maryland
July 2014
Voigtländer 21/1.8 ASPH lens
Leica M240 digital camera

Black Hole of Calcutta

The basement where I worked – Gaithersburg, Maryland

People like to trash federal government workers all the time as being underworked and overpaid, undeserving of even the smallest things… like basic office supplies, clean and healthy working conditions, safe drinking water, a living wage, and many other aspects that we all take for granted in an office-based work environment. But they have no idea just how difficult some of those federal government agencies are to work in, like my former employer.

This is the basement hallway in the 60-year old building where my cubicle was located for the last six years of my career before I retired. If the image looks dark, that’s because it was; budget cuts at the time were so extreme that only two lights illuminated the entire length, from one end of the long building to the other. Many of the offices on this hallway – most of which were crammed to four times (or more) of their designed capacity with cubicles – had similar levels of illumination in them; i.e., almost nothing. Of course there were no windows.

Sound levels were so loud that they were just below the OSHA levels for required ear protection. The plumbing broke at least once or twice per year, flooding most of the hallway and offices with raw sewage, which required the replacement of everything that it touched. The drinking fountains were unusable for months at a time; sometimes because high levels of lead were discovered in them, sometimes because they were saturated with other contaminants.

We didn’t have a break room, and had no place where we could wash dishes or utensils if we brought our own lunch. Trash – even food waste – was only collected twice per week, which got rank and attracted vermin. The janitorial service was laughable.

I could go on and on. I only continued working in such bad conditions because I was so close to retirement.


Photo info:
Basement hallway where I worked
Gaithersburg, Maryland
April 2013
Apple iPhone 4S