Photoshoot: constant observation

Sunrise, sunset, 6:24 am and 6:53 pm As the days go by quickly as the lyrics go to the song “Fiddler on the Roof”. September is the best month for three weeks of good summer weather and always my vacation, the week after Labor Day.

This year’s stay-at-home event didn’t feature the usual homeowners’ highlights, like painting the house, repairing the patio, or landscaping the long-neglected backyard. Instead, it was mainly a week of observation, watching the tides rise and fall, noticing the direction of the wind and when it changed, monitoring the position of the sun as it descended below the horizon and moving more and more slowly towards the south.

The night has brought a vault of stars. I have a phone app I’m trying to learn that shows all the constellations, but it’s too much information. Instead, I locate the Big Dipper, follow the stars pointing to the Pole Star, and just look out into space.

At an age when I am more comfortable in the past than in the present, I am content to wonder about the significance of it, without trying to understand everything.

Most of my viewing time has gone to the birds. The hummingbird feeder buzzed as the tiny helicopters circled around, fueling up on calories for their migration. How they fly so far, another mystery of nature.

The early morning parade of the turkey family in the street started at precisely 6.30am. Overhead the swallows gathered in precision flight, not quite the whispered flight of starlings, but still a spectacle.

On the water, terns fly at low altitude, grazing on small fish. Boaters know their seasonal schedule, lining the gunwales of boats and coating them with a new layer of guano and half-eaten fish before they migrate to South America.

No migration in prospect for this photojournalist. Just a look back at the ebb and flow of daily news from our peninsula but, keeping in mind the words of Vincent Van Gogh, “Art requires constant observation.

About Gene Schafer

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