Eight Fine Photos + One Great Memory

I love this moody John Hunt picture of some swans on a lake. I am guessing by the color bias in the image, that John used a white balance setting such as shade, or a warming filter to warm the whole scene up. Whatever the case, I was attracted to the scene.1a600_7068-Edit

The Dolomites by Andrzej Olchawa. Classic comp and wonderful spotty light with a beautiful scene.2Dolomites-4Andrezej Olchawa

I love water-abstracts and this Garry Crabbe image is one reason why. Whether you slow your shutter speed, or use the fastest possible, careful selection of what you include in the “image space” abstracts the obvious. In other words it is a realistic look at a subject we all know, but it still remains coy and unusual. 3Gary Crabbe

Wow. Athabasca Falls in Alberta, Canada is an outstanding scene in and of itself, but this Naseem Albahr interpretation is both seamless and surreal. Well-done!4Athabasca-Falls-At-Dusk-Jasper-Alberta-CanadaNaseem Albahr

William Banik produced this enticing image of some sort of plant hopper on a Bramble Bush. I love close-ups with black backgrounds and I am even more enamored when they are created naturally through the use of shade and careful selection of the location of the camera, and the lens used.5hopper blow out in the bramble - bw8tn -01William anik

We leave nature for this aerial view of two drag racers leaving the line. These cars are clearly street cars not true race cars, but just the same, this is a view you don’t usually see. Colin Smith snapped the shutter.6dragstrip-1024x540 Collin Smith

A view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris that I have never seen before. No matter how many times we have seen pictures of an iconic location, someone will come along and do something different with that place. This picture came from Google Plus, which is where most of the images I share come from, but I have seen the photographer’s name on so many pictures of varied subjects from all over the world, that I am beginning to have my doubts, so I am sharing this without a link.7Eiffel Tower-1 Andrzej Olchawa

I love this image by a photographer who calls herself Kristian T. It appears to me to be a beam from a lighthouse.  What an evocative, and minimalist view of a common subject it is. This is both a straight forward image and an abstract at the same time.8IMG_7729

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The recent Fourth of July weekend brought back memories of holidays from my youth. One particular Fourth of July stuck out prominently from the recesses of my mind.

My pals Ray and Jay and I, and no they aren’t related, had planned a holiday weekend away from home. We planned to go camping at a campground across the road from Devil’s Lake State Park. Why not go to the  beautiful and rustic Devil’s Lake campground itself? Our state parks have rules on noise and other things while the private campground was well-known for accommodating parties and other debauchery. I should backtrack and tell you that we were all 18 years old, and the only reason we ever went away, was to get drunk and meet girls. Wisconsin had an 18-year-old drinking law for special “beer only” bars in many of its counties. After all, you can’t get intoxicated and drive when it’s only beer…….can you? As was normally the case, we took my car and I drove.

Among the counties that had beer bars were the one that held both Devil’s Lake and the Wisconsin Dells, and another that contained Madison, the home of the University of Wisconsin, and one of the nation’s top party towns. That meant if we could find a place to camp near Madison, we could hit party town one night, and then move on to Devil’s Lake/Wisconsin Dells.

Is there anything more safe and sane than three 18-year-old “boys” driving a hundred miles to get drunk, and then driving another 75 to get drunk again?

We pulled into Madison a little late and decided we would find a place to camp after we hit the bars. I mean after all, there are always “all night” campgrounds available in the middle of cities with a quarter of a million people, just waiting for drunken young kids to drop in at 3 a.m., and pick a campsite. Right?

We picked the best bar in the city and immediately began getting obliterated with Wisconsin’s favorite beverage, beer. After a few hours of young college girls looking at us as though we carried leprosy, we found a small group of girls who were friendly, attractive, and happy to talk and dance, as long as we kept plying them with more beer. Eventually the young ladies decided that they wanted to head out to another beer bar. It seemed our night might be over. Then they invited us to follow their three cars. Can there be anything safer, than three cars of drunken girls, followed by one car of drunken boys, driving 12 miles out to a suburban bar? Just as Ray and I were about to get in our car, a young lady who’s name has long left me (by the next day) shouted, “Jay is coming with us”. We followed the lead car while the other two followed us. Suddenly the two cars in back of us turned the corner, while we continued to follow the leader…so to speak. As we headed into the crowed bar, I casually mentioned to Ray, I hope Jay was in the first car. He was not. We asked the other girls what happened to the other cars, and they replied that they did not know. A hundred miles from home, drunk as a skunk, and no Jay. I headed for the bathroom only to hear some moaning coming from a stall. It was Jay and he had just finished getting sick. I told him I was happy we found him and since he “got rid of” all that beer, he should be ready to start again. He said he was ready.

We had a great time that night and we left three of the young ladies with the location of the campground where we would be staying the nest night, as well as the location of the nightclub where we would be visiting in the evening hours.

Now it was time to sleep. Just where do you find a place to camp at three a.m.? Well, there was a nice grassy area in the middle of the parking lot belonging to the bar/shopping center. In the dead of night, when we were drunk, we began setting up our tent in the middle of some suburban city that we were not familiar with. We almost had the tent standing, on our tenth try, when the local neighborhood policemen drove up. Now understand, I have always supported the police, and have never been anything but civil to them, and it has always paid off. They asked what we thought we were doing, and we politely told them, and they said, make sure you pack up and get off the lot, before the restaurant in the shopping center opens at 7 a.m. We were stunned and we said okay. Now getting up in a little over three hours, after a night long drunk, and packing up that tent was not on any of our lists as a preferred activity, but even way back then, we lived by our word and we drove off just before the open sign was lit in the restaurant.

We arrived at our campground near Devil’s Lake at 9 or 10 a.m. and checked in, constructed our sleeping quarters, and plunked down for three or four hours of rest. After we awoke, we had breakfast (doughnuts from the morning before), and gave ourselves a thorough cleaning, which was very, very, very, necessary.

Night time came and we were off to the Purple Haze nightclub, just a little ways out of the Wisconsin Dells. We drank and partied and finally, near closing time ( I guess we looked better at closing) we met a few young ladies who were willing to share a campfire with us. What about the girls from Friday in Madison? We guessed they found something better to do because they did not show.  As we drove into our campground, followed by our Purple Haze girls, we found the Madison girls waiting for us. To make a very long story short we all had a fun time in front of the campfire, and the girls, all of them, slept in their cars. A wise choice for young women with a long ways to drive after too much alcohol. We all parted company in the morning, each of us with phone numbers in our wallets or purses, only (of course) to never use them.

So what about The Fourth of July? Well it was now the Fourth of July, and it was time to head home.

We were all hung over in the worst way, yet we got into the car and I ( of course), began the long road home. After traveling for a while we decided to get off the main highway and take a more scenic route. We were about to enter Columbus, Wisconsin on a state highway, and turn right on another small highway when we noticed the road was blocked up ahead. I had a torrential headache and I was beginning to just want to get home. I turned down a side street, and turned again to run parallel to the original state highway. It seemed like a good move and then we noticed bumper to bumper traffic on the main street, which was where we were going. Oh well, I was just going to have to putter along in all of that traffic until we got out-of-town. I turned into the traffic and realized (duhhhhh) that we were in fact, in the Columbus, Wisconsin, Fourth of July parade. We went with the flow and rolled the windows down, and stuck our arms out of my 1964 Chevy Impala SS, and waved at the crowd. They waved back. They assumed that we were somebody of importance. I imagine it never occurred to them, that three young men, were dumb enough to forget it was the Fourth of July, and drive into the route of a parade. How stupid will this next (my) generation be? We drove to the end of the parade route, and then continued our journey home. Three young nobodies got to be famous….for about 15 minutes. I guess that was the 15 minutes of fame I am always hearing about.

For any of you who are actually still reading this “painfully” long story, I thank you for sharing my most memorable Fourth of July!

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I need to add to the above story, that I am in no way condoning drinking, and especially drinking and driving.  I would suggest to everyone, in particular young people, to find other things to amuse yourselves.  It is none the less, a true story, and I have many like that.  I have no intention of ignoring my personal history just because there were foolish decisions made at the time. Bad decisions, can still make good stories.  I and my friends were lucky, as were others using the roadways, that no problems occurred. I not only do not currently drink and drive, I quit drinking altogether a long time (1992) ago. I made an exception to have exactly 1/2 glass of wine, in 2005, and I have never repeated that.

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I thank you and have a great day,                                                                                                     Wayne

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