Some Of This Year’s Pix: A Photography Story

Ah, the wonders and the ease of digital photography. I mean, you’ve got to love it. No mess and no fuss, which is precisely the way that little ol’ me, who is lazy as shit, likes things to be.

What’s more, digital photography can be quite addictive, as half or more of the world’s population is fully aware. I’m definitely addicted. In spurts, anyway. I don’t take pictures of every damn thing I do or of every place I go, but, ever since obtaining my first smart phone in 2015, I’ve snapped more than enough. And a fair number of those shots have found their way onto the pages of the publication that you now are reading. Man, writing stories for this site usually drains the hell out of me. But snapping pix for it with my phone? That’s a gas, gas, gas!

And so, the other day I decided to have a look at the hundreds of photos from 2020 that sit quietly and patiently in my phone’s storage room. I did so with the idea in mind to put a small bunch of them on public display for the first time. Fortunately, there were enough that struck me as worthy. Thus, this essay became a go. That brought a nice big sigh of relief because, as I’ve noted semi-regularly over the last few years, story ideas don’t exactly spew from me with the force of volcanic eruptions.

Miles Table (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). January 15, 2020
Abington, Pennsylvania. March 21, 2020
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. May 29, 2020

Are there any connective tissues holding these photos together? I suppose so, since they portray scenes that appealed to me sufficiently to try and capture them. For instance, I’m into color juxtapositions, arrays of angular shapes, and unexpected elements. And all of those are to be found in some of the pictures, such as the one taken in front of Miles Table, the Philadelphia café where my pal Gene and I ate lunch one January day.  The reflections in Miles Table’s windows intermesh giddily with the interior of the shop. Dig that crazy tree cozying up to a prim and proper table! You don’t see that every day.

Photo taken in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania on June 2, 2020
Georgian Bakery And Café (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). January 10, 2020
Photo taken in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania on June 22, 2020

On the other hand, I also enjoy simplicity, and there was a sweet simplicity to the early-evening cottony sky that I photographed from my house’s deck. We’ve all seen skies like this one mucho times before. But we never grow tired of them, because they are both calm and majestic. They give us pause.

My house (Willow Grove, Pennsylvania). May 24, 2020

And, speaking of my house, how could I resist the photo of the rhododendron bush that sits in my front yard? I tell you, that plant preened exuberantly this spring, something that it never had done before during the 15 years that my wife Sandy and I have lived here. To my mind, this was proof that flora can be unpredictable in their moods and actions, sometimes behaving wonderfully and sometimes not. Humans, take heart in that! Every entity on Planet Earth is complicated as hell, not just us.

I’ll leave you with some thoughts related to the selfie that I took a few weeks ago at the Michener Art Museum, a medium-sized and excellent museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. It is named after the famous author James Michener, who, in the 1980s, donated tons of money to help establish the institution.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the museum closed its doors in March of this year. But the pandemic situation improved in Pennsylvania over time, allowing some cultural facilities to re-open. The Michener did so on July 20.

Sandy and I, who are museum lovers, were as happy as two masked people could hope to be, because we last had been at a museum in January. Being able to visit the Michener helped to create the illusion that the world was spinning towards normality. Anyway, we spent an hour looking over the exhibits. One of them, which displayed works that various artists created in recent years in reaction to climate change, kept us rapt.

But, as much as anything that day, I liked looking at oil paintings by Fern Coppedge (1883-1951), who lived much of her life not far from Doylestown. A number of her works are in the museum’s collections. Sandy and I have visited the Michener pretty frequently this century, and both of us have come to admire Coppedge’s art very much. Bold, tastefully-arranged colors. Strong brushstrokes. Depictions of scenic old towns and beautiful natural landscapes. I mean, what’s not to like?

Photo taken in Michener Art Museum (Doylestown, Pennsylvania). August 25, 2020

So, natch, it was in front of a Coppedge oil painting that Sandy and I positioned ourselves to grab the selfie, an art form whose mechanics I haven’t come close to mastering. Yeah, the painting appears to be drunkenly crooked in the photo, but that’s kind of charming, don’t you think?  Coppedge, who wasn’t a stickler for perfect balance, probably wouldn’t have minded a bit. And I bet that she’d have dug the contrasts and connections that our masks and tilted heads established with her painting. This photo will remain a fine reminder to Sandy and me of a very good day during the Pandemic Era.

(Please don’t be shy about adding your comments. Thanks.)

121 thoughts on “Some Of This Year’s Pix: A Photography Story

  1. Audrey Driscoll September 21, 2020 / 12:19 am

    Lots of variety in these photos, Neil. That rhodo is (was) beautiful; it’s great when a plant puts on a show for no apparent reason. Nice masks in that last one! I think masks are going to be part of our wardrobes for a while yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2020 / 12:49 pm

      Hi there. I agree with you about masks. They are not going away anytime soon. And I think that using hand sanitizers and washing our hands often will remain as common practices when the pandemic finally ends.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Audrey Driscoll September 21, 2020 / 9:48 pm

        It will be interesting to see what happens with the seasonal flu in places where people are doing those things.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lynette d'Arty-Cross September 21, 2020 / 12:37 am

    I love rhododendrons and yours was positively glowing with exuberance! Beautiful!
    I like the painting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. eden baylee September 21, 2020 / 1:20 am

    Ha, great painting and your masks and crooked heads seem to enhance it!

    Enjoy your week!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We Travel Happy September 21, 2020 / 1:39 am

    Sandy must be thrilled about those beautiful flowers. I’ve also taken a lot of pictures during the semi lockdown here in Singapore – mostly of untrimmed plants and trees, and grass that have become so tall because the workers have not been able to trim them. And don’t worry about the selfie, I and my hubby struggle to do that too hahah 🙂 – Amor

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Paddy Tobin September 21, 2020 / 4:15 am

    Very enjoyable read. Good to get out for a visit. Facemask by Frida Kahlo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2020 / 12:56 pm

      Hey there, Paddy. Right, doing normal activities — safely, hopefully — makes the pandemic situation tolerable.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Joyce Hamilton September 21, 2020 / 8:04 am

    I loved all of your photos!!! However, l think l saw the last photo taken in the museum in the local post office of 10 most wanted. Hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Debra September 21, 2020 / 8:40 am

    I’m impressed that Sandy’s mask covers her throat as well as her nose and mouth. :-}
    Lovely pix.

    Debra

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2020 / 1:03 pm

      Thanks, Debra. It’s interesting looking over photos sitting in our phones. The pictures can be surprising.

      Like

  8. Helen Devries September 21, 2020 / 8:56 am

    That museum trip must have been such a joy after so long a drought of outings.
    The rhododendron is just magnificent…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2020 / 1:05 pm

      Hi there. I’m in the mood to visit another museum soon. There’s a small art museum in an outer section of Philadelphia that Sandy and I might visit next.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. janetsm September 21, 2020 / 9:31 am

    The pandemic has helped us find joy in the little things. Your and Sandy’s visit to the Michener Museum sounds refreshing and uplifting. Your blog post has prompted me to look back at my 2020 photos to search for the happy moments I’ve had in this crazy year. I might even steal (with appropriate credit given) your idea for a blog post of my own later this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2020 / 1:08 pm

      Hi. The Michener is a really good place. They stage many good, imaginative exhibits. And I never get tired of looking at works in their permanent collection.

      Like

  10. Robert Parker September 21, 2020 / 9:47 am

    The selfie did look a little off-kilter, I just naturally assumed the painting was hanging fine, and it was you that was off-the-wall! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jacqui Murray September 21, 2020 / 10:52 am

    What a lovely post. I remember when we could walk down a street safely. Good times. Love the selfie!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. talebender September 21, 2020 / 11:00 am

    Kudos for even trying to sort through and make sense of your phone-photos! All I ever do is accumulate ‘em!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2020 / 1:14 pm

      Hi. Yeah, photos were hard to keep organized when they were printed on paper. And it’s not much easier these days with digital photography. With digital, though, the date and the location are listed for every photo, which is very helpful.

      Like

  13. Cindy Bruchman September 21, 2020 / 11:45 am

    I like your mask. Nice post. I can’t wait to go to a museum. So tired of curtailing all the joys. You are right–taking pictures of the simple beauty of nature keeps us going. Your Rhododendron bush is magnificient. I like to look up when I’m feeling low. The sky has a depth that never bores the senses.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Elizabeth M Soltan September 21, 2020 / 12:24 pm

    Enjoyed this post both for your photos and your usual skill with words–e.g., loved the idea of the normally reticent bush “preening” with exuberant blossoms. Your slant on the world is always intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2020 / 1:17 pm

      Afternoon, Liz. You probably saw the photo of the Georgian restaurant. I took that picture the night when you and Rich were there with us for dinner.

      Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2020 / 1:18 pm

      I don’t know what got into it a few months ago. It never had looked so good before. Thanks for stopping by, Rosaliene. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ann Coleman September 21, 2020 / 2:43 pm

    I’m glad you got to visit the museum, Neil! Anything “normal” that we can do these days seems to help, or at least that’s what I’ve found. And your pictures are good….I’m impressed with the rhododendrum bush especially because it’s so beautiful. Whenever I’ve tried to grow one, they mostly look, well, dead…..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. snakesinthegrass2014 September 21, 2020 / 2:56 pm

    Great photos, for sure. Love the graffiti-stained doors especially (well, apart from and the Missus, of course). It is great walking around with a camera always at the ready, though I guess celebrities now live in fear of each and every person out there. 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  17. cath September 21, 2020 / 3:10 pm

    Lovely post, and surely art is about breaking balances, rather than conforming!

    Nice masks, too. They seem to be becoming a new artform, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. sniderjerry September 21, 2020 / 3:56 pm

    Hey there Neil, thank you for a wonderful dip into your pool of pictures. have a great day. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

  19. andrewcferguson September 21, 2020 / 4:45 pm

    Good to see you and Sandy looking so well, Neil. More power to your photographic elbow.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. JT Twissel September 21, 2020 / 5:29 pm

    Our museums just reopened happily! I’m a big fan of Michener’s – how cool to live near his house!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2020 / 6:06 pm

      Hi, JT. The museum’s construction began in the 1980s. Michener lived for parts of his life in homes not far from the museum, but didn’t live on the site where the museum stands.

      Like

  21. Laurie Graves September 21, 2020 / 10:34 pm

    I like all the colors and patterns in your photos. I really enjoyed seeing the selfie of you and Sandy. Very dashing in your masks. Also great you were able to go to a museum. Must have been grand.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Crystal Byers September 22, 2020 / 12:24 am

    Are you familiar with Wes Anderson? He has mastered color and symmetry in film. Your photos remind me of that. Especially that Willow Grove graffiti shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 22, 2020 / 7:31 am

      I really liked his movie The Grand Budapest Hotel. Ralph Fiennes was hilarious in it.

      Like

      • Crystal Byers September 22, 2020 / 10:30 am

        Me, too! Love Ralph F. I think I’ve seen all of them. My favorite—The Royal Tenenbaums. Owen and Luke Wilson, Gene Hackman, Angelica Houston, Danny Glover, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bill Murray. What a cast!

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Des September 22, 2020 / 10:16 am

    Glad to read that I’m not the only one who has to dig deep sometimes to come up with a story. I totally agree that taking the pictures is the fun and easy part of blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 22, 2020 / 11:40 am

      To some extent, photography exercises a different set of brain muscles than writing does, I think.

      Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead September 22, 2020 / 5:55 pm

        Just think John Ford and you will have an image of CB. Just got back from a great stroll on the beach and through some forest with my gal. You guys would have loved it.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Isabelle September 22, 2020 / 2:14 pm

    Being a museum enthusiast myself, I’d love to visit Michener Art Museum. The beautiful painting behind you and your wife gives me a very autumn feeling, calm and atmospheric 🍂🍁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 22, 2020 / 4:45 pm

      You would like Doylestown a lot. That’s the town where the Michener is located. Doylestown is a large, old village. It’s charming and well-maintained. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Isabelle. See you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Isabelle September 23, 2020 / 3:56 am

        I have a particular liking for old, charming villages. Thank you, Neil. I’d love to visit Doylestown!

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Cindy September 22, 2020 / 6:25 pm

    Didn’t someone once say, Art hath charms to soothe the Covid brain? If so–or even if not–I totally agree. Viewing serene paintings like Fern Coppedge’s, and many of the impressionists’ that I saw at the Barnes last week, calms jangly nerves. So does appreciating the diverse beauty of the world around us, as your photos show!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 22, 2020 / 7:48 pm

      One of these days the coronavirus situation will more or less be over. That day can’t come soon enough.

      Like

  26. viewfromoverthehill September 22, 2020 / 8:14 pm

    I’m jealous of you and your gorgeous bush in your garden. My balcony efforts have returned little this summer and it is now too late for them to do anything so pretty. Enjoy your lovely city as well and take care of yourselves. All the best. Muriel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 22, 2020 / 10:07 pm

      Evening, Muriel. You know, I’d love for that bush to bloom like that next year. But it’s anybody’s guess if that will happen. Have a great rest of the week. Bye till next time!

      Like

  27. tanjabrittonwriter September 22, 2020 / 10:06 pm

    Yes, thank goodness for digital cameras. Do you remember the day when we went on vacation with our old cameras and took two, maybe 3 rolls of film (24 to 36 exposures) to last for a 2 week trip? Now we might take this many photos in a day!
    I think your rhododendron is divine!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. annieasksyou September 22, 2020 / 11:25 pm

    First of all, you have far more hair than you purport, so it turns out you’re one of those unreliable narrators. Second of all, I, for one, would never have known that you struggle with wording, as your often hilarious and sometimes profound observations seem to simply tumble out.

    Third, I enjoyed the shapes and colors you bestowed on us here. I’m glad you and Sandy got to a museum, and you’ve persuaded me that your selfie is a work of art. We haven’t yet summoned the courage for such an indoor outing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 23, 2020 / 7:10 am

      Hi, Annie. And thanks. I suppose that going to the Michener actually was less risky than going to supermarkets, which is something we do pretty frequently. There were far fewer people at the museum than there are in supermarkets. It’s a confusing, and still dangerous, situation that we all are in.

      Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 23, 2020 / 10:43 am

      One thing for sure is that I’ve become a fan of hand sanitizer. I think that many people will continue to use it after the pandemic more or less ends.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. tylerus September 23, 2020 / 2:36 pm

    Lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing. It’s nice to “get away”, even if it’s courtesy of the dining room chair.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 23, 2020 / 4:17 pm

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by, Tyler. I’m glad the pictures let you “escape” for a while.

      Like

  30. johnlmalone September 23, 2020 / 5:39 pm

    I like the variety in the photos you take, Neil; you are an ever questing spirit 🙂 I’m also on the lookout for the weird in the ordinary but sometimes am content with something as mundane as a tea towel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. carolinehelbig September 24, 2020 / 5:01 pm

    I haven’t mastered the selfie either, but yours is charming. Those artsy masks are a nice touch too!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. selizabryangmailcom September 24, 2020 / 7:47 pm

    I love the photos, the groupings, the motivation behind them.

    Have you ever thought of sending a collection to a gallery? (Well, maybe not now, but when plague times are over?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 24, 2020 / 10:33 pm

      Hi Stacey. Thanks for the thumbs-up for the photos. But I don’t think a gallery is in my future. I get a kick, though, from putting photos into my articles.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Alyson September 25, 2020 / 5:04 am

    Fantastic and eclectic set of pictures – There is always something of interest out there to capture if you look for it. You have a good eye. Even a generation ago, taking pictures involved developing film and being really frugal with the amount of shots a hobbyist could take – We complain about some of the new technology, but good that we can all now indulge our interests (even getting these words out to a large audience) without it breaking the bank.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Un po' di pepe September 26, 2020 / 1:01 am

    Nice selfie with strong interesting diagonals. You didn’t even chop off either of your heads. I’d say that is impressively! Ciao, Cristina

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 26, 2020 / 7:44 am

      Hi. You never quite know how selfies are going to turn out. I guess that is part of their charm. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the day!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Silver Screenings September 26, 2020 / 1:19 pm

    I just did a quick online search of Fern Coppedge’s work and I love her style!

    2020 has not been a great year, but your photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Paulie September 26, 2020 / 9:59 pm

    Good piece. As I said in response to your comment on my own post, if it wasn’t for digital photography I’d be pursuing another hobby. Digital photography not only avoids the cost of processing it has a myriad of artistic advantages. You get to review your photos instantly and reshoot to correct, you get to edit your photos from correcting the lighting and cropping to changing color and composition.
    That said I’ve seen some disadvantages as well. I think that by and large photos in phones, in a cloud or on a flash drive often stay there. It’s relegated the family album to extinction. I have some albums from my parents and grandparents and bins of photos that I took when my children were little. In contrast I’ve seen friends and my adult children taking photos of occasions, family and vacations with their phone where they’ll probably stay forever. They won’t make their way to a frame or an album.
    BTW being an aficionado of street art and railcar graffiti I’m particularly taken with your graffiti photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 27, 2020 / 7:20 am

      Hi there. Thanks for adding your thoughts. I suppose that some people print digital photos now and then. If not, maybe they’ll start to one day, because it’s good to have family photos on display or in an album where they are easily found. Enjoy the upcoming week. See ya.

      Like

  37. alhenry September 27, 2020 / 5:58 pm

    “Being able to visit the Michener helped to create the illusion that the world was spinning towards normality.”

    Yes, we need museums and hope that normality might one day return.

    I also truly appreciate the photo of the plant ensnared in the chain link fence–a metaphor for life in the present regime?

    Like you, I’m the family photographer. And yes, it’s so much easier to travel light with my Smartphone as camera, but if I’m being really honest, for me, the best photos I ever took were with my old Nikon, where I lit and framed and whatever else every shot. As a compromise, my Nikon digital delivers both quality and ease, but it’s still a HUGE temptation to go with “lightness” and use the phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 27, 2020 / 8:51 pm

      I never thought about the plant in the fence that way before, but you are right. Trump eats it. He’s an enemy of democracy.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. America On Coffee September 27, 2020 / 11:05 pm

    A nice collection of photos are similar to exhibits in an art showing and in museums. One day your photo work will add up to greens and gold called Big Money! And don’t forget your friends and followers that cheered you on! Have a phenomenal week!☕️☕️🎼

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 28, 2020 / 6:57 am

      Hello there. I’m glad you like the photos. Thanks for your positive words. Enjoy the week, AOC. See ya!

      Like

  39. ckennedy September 28, 2020 / 10:01 am

    Great photos! Because of camera phones, I’m also taking more pictures than I ever have in the past few years. This year, though, I think I’ve taken less pictures. It has been hard to stay motivated during the pandemic, but getting out and snapping pictures of all of the positive and beautiful things that remain is good for the soul. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 28, 2020 / 11:47 am

      If nothing else, it’s good that we pretty much always have our smart phone cameras at the ready, just in case.

      Liked by 1 person

  40. D. Wallace Peach September 28, 2020 / 12:36 pm

    A fun photo tour. I’m glad you got to the museum. Those are the kinds of outings that I miss too. I don’t leave the house and yard often, but those infrequent adventures were more important than they seemed. Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Jeff the Chef September 29, 2020 / 9:10 am

    I enjoyed your photos. Thanks for posting them! I’ve not had the chance to go to a museum, although there is great one near me that is open. I need to get my butt in gear and get down there!

    Liked by 1 person

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