Sticks and Stones

January Colors, Washington, Connecticut © Steven Willard

If April is the cruelest month*, what does that make January? The bleakest? The ideal month for black and white photographers? If you have trouble seeing in monochrome, January makes it easier. Most of the color has already been stripped away, replaced by shades of grey.

* From T. S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”.

Olympus OMD EM1 with 12-40mm f2.8  zoom, processed in Nova® and Snapseed® on my iPad Pro.


Where do we fit in?

Where do we fit in?  © Steven Willard

Great minds have been pondering where we, as humans, fit in the Grand Scheme of the workings of the universe for centuries. Our science has allowed us to see farther into space, and further back in time, and as a consequence we are able to see just how small we are. At the same time science has made it possible to see into the workings of atoms and the particles of which they are formed. We become aware that in our bodies, that are mere specks of dust in the universe, there exist particles that are infinitesimally small. We exist, suspended between both extremes, not understanding, yet, how we got here or where we are going. Each of us is so small we have a difficult time imagining how we might affect the world, yet collectively we have forever reshaped the planet on which we live. And because of social media we are bombarded by messages emanating from the smallest minds broadcast to the largest audiences ever. Wars and violence rage around the world and we have no remedy but to be kind to one another as individuals; to recognize that in that Grand Scheme we are all the same; small or large depending which end of the telescope you are looking through. So where does that leave us? To paraphrase an old prayer, “The sea art so large, and our boat so small”, and we are all in it together.

Expectant mother

Expectant mother, Richmond, Virginia © Steven Willard

I could only surmise that this patient woman was waiting for her daughter to come out of the fitting room so she could give her blessing. How women do this I have no idea. I would have liked to see what happened next, but we were too cold to wait.

Panasonic GX85 with 12-32mm kit zoom, using the “L MONO” conversion jpeg and processed in Snapseed.

The long goodbye

Sweet sorrow © Steven Willard

Sometimes we just don’t want to let go, to say goodbye. Even after everyone else has “left the building” we can’t seem to acknowledge it’s time to part.

Panasonic Lumix GX85 with 9-18mm Olympus zoom, processed in PS Express and Snapseed.


Support system, Richmond, Virginia © Steven Willard

Isn’t it remarkable how much we place our trust in others every day? The crews of the trains that use this bridge system trust it was properly designed to do its job, and is properly maintained. Every time we get in a car we assume that other people on the road are going to follow the rules and stay on their side of the road. That the mechanics who service our vehicles have done their jobs correctly. When we fly, we trust not only those who built and maintain the aircraft, but the pilots and air traffic controllers, and the system that keeps planes from running into each other. We even trust the physics that hold those planes in the air. We trust elevators not to fail, and banks not to loose our money. Think of all the ways you place your trust in people you’ve never met. We trust that firemen will come when we need them, and police, too. We trust that the guy who we’ve hired to cut down that tree too close to the house won’t drop it on the car. We trust doctors and nurses, bless them, to know their jobs and take care of us when we can’t take care of ourselves. Think how much trust we place in teachers to teach. Think of the hundreds of ways we trust people we don’t know every day.

Think of all the trust we place in those who govern our country to do what’s best. Did I go too far?

Olympus OMD-EM1 with 12-40mm f2.8 lens processed on Snapseed

What’s behind the green door?*

Tobacco warehouse, Richmond, Virginia © Steven Willard

My friend, Ronnie, has lived in Richmond for eight years, and in that time has managed to find many wonderful subjects for photographs. Lucky for me he was willing to show me some of them. This warehouse is located not far from the river (that’s the James River), that flows through center of town. Earlier, we had taken a stroll on the “Pipeline Trail”. You can read more about that on my post of December 28.

*Some older readers from the US may remember the song from 1956.

Olympus OMD-EM1 with 12-40mm f2.8 lens processed with PS Express and Snapseed.


Contrast, Richmond, Virginia © Steven Willard

I love the contrast between the randomness of the tree’s branches and the straight regularity of the wall and ornamental pattern of the bricks.

Olympus OMD-EM1 with 12-40mm f2.8 lens, processed in PS Express and Snapseed on the iPad Pro2.